The red ink deepened at the UK's FilmFour last year, with the film arm of broadcaster Channel 4 posting an operating loss nearly double that of 2000, while its parent company revealed its first loss for 10 years.

FilmFour recorded an operating loss of $7.9m (£5.4m) for 2001, close to double that of 2000's $4.4m (£3m) loss. Announcing the results, the broadcaster noted that the division had not had a breakout film. Production and development costs amounted to $45.2m (£31m), while sales costs came to $21.7m (£14.9m) and marketing costs were at $9.6m (£6.6m). The average number of employees was 61.

Hit by the advertising downturn, Channel 4 posted its first overall group loss for 10 years. Losses for 2001 came to $30m (£20.6m) after tax, compared to a profit in 2000 of $31.3m (£21.5m).

4 Ventures, the commercial division which houses FilmFour along with the channel's pay-TV channels and internet interests, recorded an operating loss of $94.6m (£65m).

Channel 4 said that the investment in 4 Ventures represented its peak cost. Turnover at the commercial arm increased by 54% to $227.2m (£156m), pushing the group's overall turnover to a rise of 2% year on year to an all time high of $1.1bn (£731m).FilmFour was responsible for almost a third of $ Ventures' turnover, contributing $62.8m (£43.1m)

"4 Ventures is a necessary investment to ensure Channel 4 remains a powerful presence in the digital era," said chief executive Mark Thompson. "These businesses are young and will take time and investment to develop, but 4 Ventures is ahead of business plan and will take a major step towards profitability this year."