Spanish media group Sogecable has reported positive year-end financial results for the first time since 1998, citing the success of its film division Sogecine, as a major contributing factor.
Sogecable posted Euros 2.8m in net profits for 2001 compared with a loss of Euros 11.4m in 2000. Group revenue rose by 12.6% to Euros 1bn in 2001 from the previous year.
Among the group's strongest units was film production house Sogecine, which backed hits The Others, Sex And Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo) and Mad Love (Juana La Loca). Released through affiliated distributor Warner Sogefilms, The Others was the top grossing film at the Spanish box office last year, earning Euros 26.3m by year end.
The group's pay TV outlets Canal Plus and Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) increased subscribers to 787,000 and 1.23 million respectively. In a statement, Sogecable CEO Javier Diez de Polanco suggested CSD would be "the group's engine for growth in the coming years" and called its performance "particularly satisfying considering the reality of the pay TV sector in Spain," which the group estimates lost Euros 350m in 2000 and at least that amount in 2001.
French giant StudioCanal, part-owner of Sogecable alongside Spain's Grupo Prisa, bought a 45% stake in Sogecable film sales arm Sogepaq last July for Euros 40.3m. The deal was done with an eye to beefing up distribution synergies between the two groups - particularly across Europe. Sogepaq and Sogecine have recently closed sales around the world on Lucia (including to Palm Pictures for the US), Mad Love (to Sony Pictures Classics for North America), and Intacto (to Lion's Gate worldwide and Buena Vista for a remake).