Evgeny Lebedev’slocal TV stations London Live made an operating loss of £11.6m in the year ending September 2014, after launching in March last year, its company has revealed.
According to owner ESI Media, the local TV channel made revenue of £1.3m over its first six months on air.
In a press release today, the company said that the channel’s trading loss for the year to September 2014 was £10m excluding exceptional start-up costs and year-end accounting adjustments.
The company also said that operating losses are expected to fall by nearly half in the year to September 2015.
Earlier this year, London Live announced plans to reduce its staff by a third, from around 60 to 40.
ESI Media said that BARB figures show the channel had its best-ever month in May this year, with 2.5m adults watching the channel, up nearly 200,000 on April. It said that 72 per cent of the 2.5m were returning viewers and that London Live claimed a 0.36 per cent share of viewing in London, 13 per cent up on April 2015 and 112 per cent up on May 2014.
Tim Kirkman, chief operating officer of London Live, said: “We launched a quality channel after building the complete broadcasting chain from scratch and our agile approach during our first year has seen us evolve the channel, focusing investment on the most popular programming and ensuring a financially sustainable cost base for the business.
“Following consultations with Ofcom, we have also benefited from a number of modifications to licence requirements, which have enabled us to further boost our offering for viewers.”
Steve Auckland, ESI Media chief executive, was quoted last month as saying that the rest of Evgeny Lebedev’s media business – made up of the Evening Standard and Independent titles – cannot “keep propping up” London Live. He also said in a Campaign interview that the “easy call” for him would be to “close” the station.
He is quoted in today’s press release as saying: “I’m delighted with the progress made over the past few months with the channel enjoying record audiences and revenue. The business is in far better shape than it has ever been and is building a strong foundation for the future which is a credit to Tim and his team.”