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Natural History unit lifts profit 73% on sales of shows

Fox’s Natural History unit lifts profit 73% on sales of ‘I Survived,’ TV shows

By Hannah Lynch

Aug. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Natural History New Zealand, Fox Television Studios’ local documentary unit, posted a 73 percent increase in annual profit as it benefited from sales of TV shows I Survived and Gem Hunter to National Geographic and the Travel Channel.

Profit rose to $3.1 million in the 12 months ended June 30, 2011, according to the Dunedin-based company's financial statements posted on the Company's Office. Sales increased 31 percent to $27.5 million, while the cost of sales rose 36 percent to $13.4 million.

National Geographic's I Survived, which profiles extraordinary stories about people who have died and returned to life, continues to be a "big driver" for the company and the channel’s highest-rated series, managing director Michael Stedman told BusinessDesk. Wildlife show Built for the Kill also wrapped up its second series for the channel.

The Travel Channel's Gem Hunter, set in remote regions of Madagascar and Ultimate Animal Countdown were also "two big series" for NHNZ, Stedman said.

"These are good drivers in terms of the bottom line," he said. "We have been having steady and good growth."

The Dunedin production company, ultimately owned by News Corp, is the biggest producer of Chinese documentaries outside of that country. Last year it finished making China Revealed, a 3D show about the country's cultures, colours and landscapes.

"3D is a big driver - we made more 3D documentaries than any other country," Stedman said.

NHNZ has offices in Beijing and Washington DC. It has controlling stakes in Singapore-based production company, Beach House Pictures and South African-based, Aquavision Wildlife Filmmakers.

Its programmes are also supplied to the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Science and A&E Television Networks.


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