Digital broadcaster, MediaCorp, which owns Singapore's most comprehensive range of media assets, has announced a net profit after tax of SGD161.2 million (USD102 million) for the year ended 31 March 2006.
Earnings more than trebled the previous year's, boosted by a one-off gain of SGD107.3 (USD68 million) million from the partial disposal of MediaCorp's stake in Singapore-listed StarHub. At the operating level, earnings were up about 31% from the previous year as revenue of its television, radio and print businesses all posted double-digit growth.
MediaCorp (owned by Singapore Government State investment vehicle, Temasek Holdings) has declared a net dividend payout of $80.7 (USD51 million). MediaCorp plans to distribute $320 million (USD203 million) cash to its sole shareholder, Temasek which will result in a capital reduction.
MediaCorp's statement says after the large payout, this will still leave its balance sheet in a strong position.
Significantly, MediaCorp intends to "pursue overseas expansion".
I see this as a logical move, where locally in Singapore, the media offer only organic growth and a limited market place. I would suggest that India is one potential market being considered. A number of Indian Networks already use Singapore as a satellite uplink and transmission base for program content to be received and viewed by audiences in India.
Lucas Chow, CEO of MediaCorp, re-affirms that MediaCorp will "focus on quality content production which can travel, strategic investments as well as acquisition of media infrastructure for our push into HD (high definition TV) and new media."
If you have read recent editions of Digital Broadcasters Vendor News you'll be aware that I am an aggressive advocate of terrestrial broadcasters embracing new technologies with a vengeance if they wish to survive the dramatic shift in time the average time a person is willing to sit passively in front of the television set. Today's generation wants to be entertained anywhere anytime, when they want.