STRONG EARNINGS GROWTH FOR BONNIER BROADCASTING, +140%
- Bonnier Broadcasting grew profit by just over 140 per cent, reporting EBITA of SEK 1,027 million (SEK 423 million in 2017). Sales rose by 10 per cent to SEK 8,253 million (SEK 7,497 million in 2017).
- TV4 AB posted record earnings, growing profit to SEK 1,382 million (SEK 1,022 million in 2017), an increase of 35.2 per cent. Sales rose, to SEK 4,739 million (SEK 4,469 million in 2017), and the operating margin rose to 29.2 per cent (22.9 per cent in 2017). These results make TV4 one of the most profitable TV companies in Europe.
- TV4’s earnings growth is due to a combination of strong sales growth – especially for digital services, where TV4 Play has grown faster than the Swedish AVOD market as a whole two years in a row – and lower costs due to earlier restructuring and rationalisation. A continuing focus on quality and transparency has also increased demand for digital and linear TV, i.e. the total TV offering pursued by TV4 over the past few years. There is much to indicate that this trend will continue in 2019.
- TV4 broke its previous sales record for both digital and linear services, and strengthened its position as market leader in commercial TV, regardless of platform. By the end of the year TV4 Play had over 4.7 million registered users, and accounted for 54 per cent of commercial MMS-monitored AVOD consumption. The TV4 channels had their best year ever in terms of share of viewing time among their main 15–64-year-old target group. The TV4 channel itself saw its highest share of viewing time since 2005 among the same target group.
- C More saw a significant improvement in earnings, partly thanks to the plan for “a more profitable C More”, which was launched in the beginning of the year and delivered as anticipated. Adding to this, 2018 was a strong content-year, with a steady stream of major Swedish drama programmes, and a successful World Cup, coupled with the option to commercial-free TV4 content. Investments continued in Swedish quality content, including drama and sport. C More reported a result of SEK -99 million (SEK -296 million in 2017).
- MTV grew more than the intensely competitive Finnish advertising market as a whole. Investments in local quality content generated successes in both digital services and linear broadcasting, growing its share of commercial viewing time and its number of streaming starts. C More as a SVOD service also saw growth in its subscriber base and customer satisfaction. Overall, C More grew more than the Finnish SVOD market as a whole. The company posted a result* of EUR -20.6 million (EUR -22.6 million in 2017).
*Combined earnings of MTV and Mediahub.
|Full year 2017||Full year 2018|
|Bonnier Broadcasting AB***|
*The company was wound up in 2017 and its operations were transferred to Bonnier Broadcasting AB.
**Combined earnings of MTV and Mediahub.
***Earnings comprise structural costs and other non-allocated costs.
****Sales after intra-group eliminations.
BONNIER BROADCASTING SWEDEN
2018 marked a continuing focus on the overall strategy, from viewers to users, and therefore also on the digital transformation that TV4 and C More have pursued over the past few years. All in all, what can therefore be seen is the results of a strategy striking a balance between linear and digital services, between pay-TV operations and commercial TV operations, focusing both on users and on partners/advertisers.
The organisation has also placed greater emphasis on profitability over the past year. This is essential for continuing strong local content, not least in news, current affairs and drama, since rigorous cost control enables continuous investments in high-quality programme content. This also ensures an attractive offering to Sweden’s advertisers.
2018 was the most profitable year yet for the TV4 company. These results make TV4 one of the most profitable TV companies in Europe. TV4’s record earnings performance is due to a combination of strong sales growth – especially for digital services, where TV4 Play has grown faster than the Swedish AVOD market as a whole two years in a row – and lower costs due to earlier restructuring and rationalisation. Another factor underlying TV4’s success is continuing investments in Swedish quality content in all genres, along with successful digital transformation. 2018 was the strongest year ever in terms of viewing figures and consumption for TV4 Play and the TV4 channels. The long-term commitment to a total TV experience – where it makes no difference how content is consumed, either for users or for advertisers – has thus yielded results. TV4’s total reach has increased over time.
2018 was a record-breaking year in a number of areas for TV4 Play. The transition from a catch-up service to a go-to destination, in which the TV experience both begins and continues – just like in the traditional world – has been successful. By the end of the year TV4 Play had over 4.7 million logged-in users. Moreover, in terms of the number of advertising exposures delivered to advertisers, TV4 Play was the MMS-monitored player that displayed by far the strongest growth in absolute terms (see also under “Sales and advertising market”). Time spent on the service rose by 24 per cent, and with a commercial share of 54 per cent, TV4 Play further strengthened its position in the market. (NENT Group 13 per cent; Discovery Networks 17 per cent; Aftonbladet TV 16 per cent). Consumption per streaming start averaged just over 15 minutes on TV4 Play, and, on average, each streaming start is seen by 1.5 people. This represents an online video experience that is more like the traditional TV experience, where users consume entire programmes – together – and for a much longer time.
Although traditional TV viewing, as expected, has continued to decline – in 2018 the average person in Sweden watched just over 2 hours and 13 minutes of TV per day, a decrease of 7.6 minutes (5.4 per cent) compared with 2017 – major ratings successes were also scored in linear broadcasting. The TV4 channels had their best year ever in terms of audience share among their 15–64-year-old main target group, with a 34.2 per cent share of viewing time, and the TV4 channel alone increased its share of viewing time to 23.6 per cent, its highest share since 2005 among the 15–64-year-old target group. So TV4’s position as Sweden’s most-watched channel among the target group was reinforced. The TV4 channel also increased actual viewing, from 30 to 31 minutes across the population, and from 25 to 26 minutes among the main 15–64-year-old target group.
Ratings successes were achieved in all programme genres, the men’s football World Cup and the Swedish general election being two high points. With a reach of 5.5 million unique viewers, the coverage of the autumn general election was the channel’s largest, most comprehensive and most watched election coverage ever. Major entertainment programmes such as Let’s Dance, Så mycket bättre, Bonde söker fru and Talang also continued to attract audiences of over a million. TV4 Play’s major series Love Island Sverige far exceeded expectations, as did Robinson, a favourite with viewers, along with a drama series – Morden i Sandhamn. The news and current affairs coverage within the framework of TV4Nyheterna, Malou efter tio, Kalla Fakta and Brottsjournalen also contributed to the high viewing figures. The Nyhetsmorgon morning programme, with a large audience 365 days a year, continued to be one of the most watched programmes; the year saw an increase of just over 40 per cent in time spent watching TV4 Play.
Growth-wise, Fotbollskanalen cemented its position as a major player in Swedish sports journalism, recording its strongest year ever in traffic terms. During the men’s football World Cup, Fotbollskanalen.se averaged well over one million unique visitors each week, which is an all-time high, and almost double the figure in 2016, the year of the men’s European Cup.
Sales and advertising market
A continuing successful commitment to a total TV offering and to digital transformation of both viewing and the business side enabled TV4 to strengthen its position in 2018 as market leader in commercial television, regardless of platform. The continued growth of TV4 Play means that TV4’s overall reach over time has increased, from 65 per cent in 2014 to 66 per cent in 2018 (Kantar Sifo-Orvesto).
According to IRM’s December forecast (results for the full year will not be published until 22 February 2019), total media spending rose by 6.0 per cent in 2018, to SEK 39,875 million. The forecast is that spending on linear TV will continue to have grown in 2018, by 8.3 per cent (1.7 per cent in 2017), to SEK 5, 942 million. Web TV growth is down on previous years, at 21.5 per cent (36.9 per cent in 2017), to SEK 1,919 million.
The increase seen by TV4 was higher, as it broke its previous digital and linear records. Demand for traditional TV advertising rose, with a continuing large influx of new advertisers in a good number of sectors. TV4’s linear national advertising sales grew by 9.2 per cent; digitally, TV4 Play recorded an increase of 28.4 per cent. This means that TV4 strengthened its position via digital media, and grew faster than the market on average. Interest among advertisers in sponsorship and editorial collaborations also grew in 2018, rising by 14.5 per cent.
Work continued during the year on further developing the market’s best advertising offering. The “families with young children” target group was launched for linear TV, as part of the process of moving beyond traditionally defined target groups based on age and gender. Prime v off-prime packaging into target groups (such as All/Men/Women aged 15–49) was also changed, to become an all-day product, in light of recent years’ ratings successes for programmes such as Nyhetsmorgon. TV4’s sponsorship and editorial collaboration offering was also further enhanced, with more collaborations and greater integration with advertisers. The continuing influx of TV4 Play users – over 4.7 million at year-end – enabled TV4 to strengthen its commercial reach and data offering, in turn creating further scope for background material and digital control. Increases, and new records, were also seen in programmatic trading, and during the year TV4 developed technical support for programmatic media purchases on the TV screen at home. By the end of the year TV4 was also live with three of the six largest operators (Telia, ComHem and Boxer), and is the only TV channel to have launched technical support for dynamically adapted TV advertising.
TV4 Play’s advertising offering broke new records in several areas. Advertising stock grew at the same rate as previous years, and in terms of the number of advertising exposures, TV4 Play was the MMS-monitored player that displayed by far the strongest growth in absolute terms – just over 440 million more advertising exposures were delivered in 2018 than in 2017. TV4 Play’s market share of 42 per cent ensured that it retained its position as the largest supplier of advertising contacts to the Swedish online video market. A high completion rate (96 per cent in 2018) and demands for transparency, measurability, content and advertising environment and viewability will ensure that demand for advertising on TV4 Play remains high in 2019. As of 1 January 2019 TV4 Play also offers a one hundred per cent delivery guarantee, charging only for advertisements that are shown in their entirety (cost per completed view, CPCV). This improves both the quality and standard of the offering to advertisers.
In 2018, TV4 remained the largest TV operator in terms both of reach and TRP deliveries* to the advertising market. Although linear reach declined for most TV channels, the TV4 channels remained leaders in reach terms, both among the 15–64-year-old main target group (58.4 per cent), and among targets groups of the commercial competitors (46.94 per cent among 15–44-year-olds, and 50.58 among 15–49-year-olds). The TV4 channel remained by far the most-watched commercial channel, with a weekly reach of 51.24 per cent among its 15–64-year-old main target group.
The number of TRPs delivered by the TV channels to the advertising market fell by 4.6 per cent during the year (representing just over 47,000 ratings) among the 15–64-year-old target group. But TV4 as an individual channel continued to perform strongly, losing fewer TRPs than the market as whole – the channel produced 2,500 TRPs fewer than in 2017 (a decrease of 1 per cent), but delivered only 0.2 per cent fewer linear advertising contacts among A15–64, notwithstanding the decline in total viewing. TRP deliveries for the TV4 channels fell by a total of 6.7 per cent, representing 36,500 TRPs fewer than in 2017. TV12 produced 8,000 fewer TRPs (a decline of 17 per cent). NENT Group fell by 6.8 per cent (representing 15,500 TRPs), whereas TV3 increased by just over 5,000 TRPs (6 per cent), partly due to the World Ice-Hockey Championships. TV6, TV8 and TV10 produced a total of 20,000 fewer TRPs (-13 per cent). Discovery Networks rose by 2.5 per cent (equal to 5,100 TRPs), thanks in large part to the Winter Olympics. Kanal 5 increased its TRPs by 15 per cent (equal to 14,000 TRPs).
EBITA for TV4 in 2018 came in at the record figure of SEK 1,382 million (SEK 1,022 million in 2017), up 35.2 per cent on 2017. The operating margin rose to 29.2 per cent.
*TRP: Target Rating Point, 1 TRP = 1 per cent of viewing among a specific target group.
Efforts continued to focus on ending C More’s losses. To this end, the beginning of the year saw the launch of a plan for “a profitable C More”. The plan was implemented during 2018, and has in all respects delivered the anticipated improvements, which was a contributory factor in C More’s greatly improved earnings as compared with 2017.
Another reason for the improved earnings was a successful year for content, further enhancing C More’s local profile. The premiere of Beck, a favourite with the viewing public, which started the content-year, and two major series Jägarna and Dirigenten, which concluded it, are just a few examples of the steady stream of Swedish drama that was showcased on C More, helping to sell subscriptions and boost consumption. The same can be said of the sports offering, with the men’s football World Cup, which was a huge ratings success, along with the Swedish men’s football league in the autumn. In addition, 2018 was the first full year that C More’s users had access to TV4’s broad range of entertainment and current affairs programmes without commercials, something much appreciated by users. The result was a sharp increase in the subscriber base, along with consumer sales.
And earlier investments in technical stability and user-friendliness have paid dividends – today, C More is seen as a reliable and easily accessible service – C More’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) increased markedly in 2018, mainly due to its content offering, centring on high-quality Swedish content. C More was also the Swedish streaming service that scored most highly with customers in the Swedish Quality Index customer survey.
Investments continued in Swedish quality content, including drama and sport. Overall, C More saw a substantial improvement on 2017; EBITA came in at SEK -99 million (SEK -296 million in 2017).
BONNIER BROADCASTING FINLAND
MTV in Finland, which has faced difficulties in a challenging market in recent years, continued to implement its new strategy during the year. Competition in the advertising market remained intense, with annual growth of 0.1 per cent. MTV nonetheless grew more than the market as a whole, and increased its market share.
Continued investments in local Finnish quality content reaped rewards in digital and linear services. MTV increased its share of commercial viewing time as compared with 2017 (42.4 per cent in 2018, compared with 41.7 per cent in 2017 among the 10–54-year-old target group), and the mtv digital AVOD service (formerly MTV Katsomo) saw an increase of almost 40 per cent in the number of streaming starts, as compared with the preceding year.
C More was launched as a SVOD service in the Finnish market in 2017, and grew its subscriber base steadily during the year. Its customer satisfaction ratings also improved. Overall, C More grew more than the Finnish SVOD market as a whole. Additionally, a number of key rights were secured during the year, including the rights to the UEFA Champions League and Formula 1 motor racing.
As a result of continuing lacklustre conditions in the Finnish media market, EBITA came in at EUR -20.6 million (EUR -22.6 million in 2017). The loss was smaller than expected, however.
- On 20 July 2018 Telia and Bonnier confirmed that the parent company Telia Company would be buying Bonnier Broadcasting, together with TV4, C More and MTV. The transaction may be seen as a natural development, given the global and digital competition that Bonnier Broadcasting faces, where changes in the value chain mean that TV viewers become ever greater users of mobile services. For Bonnier Broadcasting, the transaction creates even greater scope for further investments in high-quality Swedish content in all genres, from news and sport to drama and entertainment. Additionally, Telia’s position in the field of technology and distribution will create new opportunities to reach large groups of users in Sweden and Finland with programmes and services. The transaction is currently being reviewed by the EU Commission; its decision is expected in the second half of 2019.
- During the year TV4 was voted “Media of the Year 2018” (Årets Media 2018) – the best and most important advertising media for Swedish advertisers – by Sweden’s marketing directors, in conjunction with the magazine Resumé’s award “Sweden’s Best Marketing Director” (Sveriges bästa marknadschef).