Monday 19 August 2019

Profits dip despite hit shows at First Dates production company Coco TV

Barman Ethan Miles, maitre d’ Mateo Saina and waitress Alice Marr on First Dates Ireland
Barman Ethan Miles, maitre d’ Mateo Saina and waitress Alice Marr on First Dates Ireland

Gordon Deegan

Coco Television, the maker of top RTÉ TV hits, 'Room To Improve' and 'First Dates', last year recorded profits of €101,978.

The profits at Coco Television Productions Ltd in 2016 follow profits of €119,874 in 2015.

Coco Television CEO Stuart Switzer said that profits for 2016 were "slightly down" on 2015, but "we are very pleased with the results".

Accumulated profits at Coco Television Productions Ltd last year increased from €1.6m to €1.7m while the company's cash pile increased from €1m to €1.72m.

The company employs 14 people and staff costs last year totalled €576,560.

"We are a significant supplier of programmes to RTE," said Mr Switzer. "As their revenue base is under pressure, the challenge in the independent sector is to keep producing programming more efficiently without affecting creativity."

On the outlook for this year, Mr Switzer said that "2017 is looking positive once again in a difficult broadcasting environment" but said launching new series like 'Desperate Houses', another with Dermot Bannon looking at amazing properties in the US and piloting a new wedding format, "is very satisfying".

Mr Switzer said that the company is very proud of all its productions and pointed out that 'Room to Improve' is sometimes the highest-rated TV series on RTÉ 1 and 'First Dates' is the highest rating series on RTÉ 2

'Room to Improve' is due back on our screens in February.

"Room to Improve is in its 11th series and last year was consistently averaging over 40pc audience share, at times outstripping the 'Late Late Show' in terms of ratings," said Mr Switzer.

The last series of 'Room to Improve' was the most successful to date with an average of 656,000 viewers, with the highest-rated episode watch by 703,000 and 47pc share.

"The show's success has come about for a number of reasons, not least of all our charming fun and passionate architect presenter Dermot Bannon," said Mr Switzer.

"Combine Dermot and interesting home owners with design challenges and good storylines and it's a winning formula.

"Another reason for the success of 'Room to Improve' is that we, as producers, never tire of it and are always trying to find ways to make it more interesting for the viewers."

'First Dates Ireland', which been a huge ratings success here, is in its third series and due to air in early January.

Mr Switzer said that Coco "bring our own Irishness to it".

"It's a casting challenge, but one we relish. We received 8,000 applications this year and spent months talking to people, understanding them, considering their matches, before bringing them to the First Dates Restaurant.

"Finding love for our participants has become a bit of a vocation."

Mr Switzer said the firm will be announcing details of an "exciting new documentary" in the new year.

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