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MTG boosted by Winter Olympics

Modern Times Group (MTG) achieved record free-TV audience share in Sweden during the Winter Olympics, with the games also helping the subscriber intake for Viaplay reach an all-time high. 

Announcing its first quarter results, the European broadcasting firm said that its free TV audience share during the Winter Games reached 60% in Sweden in what was “the most watched winter Olympics and most successful for the Swedish team ever.”

MTG said that subscriber growth for its online TV service Viaplay helped to drive organic sales – in the same quarter that it merged the unit with its MTGx ‘digital accelerator’ arm to create a combined digital division.

Overall MTG said that net sales were up 13% at constant FX to SEK3.597 billion (€397 million), and up 5% on an organic basis. However, net income dropped to SEK159 million, compared with SEK334 million in the same quarter last year.

“Advertising market growth levels remain volatile across our 11 free-TV markets, but we expect to increase our audience and market shares in almost all territories in 2014. We are however running against tough comparisons in the Czech Republic in particular, following the exceptionally high levels of growth in 2013,” said MTG.

“In terms of outlook, we continue to expect a higher Nordic pay-TV operating margin in 2014 given the positive sales and profit momentum that we are seeing. At the same time, we are carefully monitoring the effects of the geopolitical situation in Ukraine but we remain committed to our investments and operations in the region given the substantial market opportunity and our well-established business positions.”

The firm said that based on current exchange rates, it does not expect to see an increase in pay TV profits in 2014 from emerging markets.