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Summary:

A first look into the books of Al Gore’s cable network: Current Media (parent of Al Gore-backed Current TV) has filed for a $100 million NAS…

imageA first look into the books of Al Gore’s cable network: Current Media (parent of Al Gore-backed Current TV) has filed for a $100 million NASDAQ IPO, trading under the ticker “CRTM”. The network, which launched in 2005, had 2007 annual revenue of $63.7 million, up 68 percent from $37.8 million in 2006. Net losses grew to $17 million, from $14.3 million. Meanwhile, the company has $2.2 million in cash on hand and $36.1 million in debt, which will be paid down upon completion of the IPO. The rest of the cash will go towards general operations. Reading through the management’s discussion and the risks section highlights Current’s challenge, as it attempts to pitch a cable channel to a crowd increasingly watching video online. While it talks about innovating in TV news and offering an integrated TV/digital platform, it also identifies as one of its key risk: “New distribution technologies may fundamentally change the way programming is distributed and our inability to adapt to them may adversely affect our business. Some highlights:…

– Institutions owning at least 5 percent of the company include Blum Capital Partners, Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa (former president Bill Clinton is unwinding his stake in that), DirectTV, and Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) CTV Holdings. As with other cable networks, some of the company’s cable partners receive equity.

– In 2007, Gore, its executive chairman, and CEO Joel Hyatt each made $1.05 million in salary and bonus. (That would be the difference between a net start-up and a new TV net.)

– Current acquired predecessor NWI for $70.9 million, entirely for its relationships with television carriers.

– The network pases a total of 51 million homes, 41 million of which are in the US.

– At the moment, Current.com is not a source of meaningful ad revenue for the company, though it expects it will be in the future.

– JPMorgan, Pacific Crest and Lehman Brothers are listed as underwriters

– There’s no information yet on the number of shares, the time-frame for the filing or its expected net proceeds after underwriting fees.

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  1. I view the always entertaining Current TV nightly. With my DirecTV basic subscription its the best satelite programming available to select.
    With most program times averaging about five minutes Current TV is the ideal selection for ADD viewers!

  2. hd-productions.biz Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    This emmy award winning channel seem ideal for an ad supported online web tv as the nature of programmes are short form. Had Current gone the video overlay option on its site or revver it would have been generating a healthy revenue stream. As its content is UGC the costs to commission are low and with digital signage networks looking for short form content, a tie in as provider would be ideal.

  3. Terry Fillmore Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    When does this IPO hit?

  4. After making pods (videos) for CurrentTV I can safely say that the audience is the TV viewers. Though our videos gained following and comments online, they were only viewed there 1,000's of times. Not enough. Getting the videos in rotation to an audience of Millions is the value.

    I haven't been visiting the Current homepage nearly as much, now that it's been re-launched. Their emphasis seems to have gone from showcasing short stories and those who create them, to being a place for pop-news.

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