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RDF passes its screen test.

Byline: By David Williamson Western Mail

Rdf Media - the TV team behind Wife Swap and Scrapheap Challenge - celebrated a bumper boost in profits yesterday and announced deals to make a string of shows in the US.

The company bought Cardiff-based production company Presentable in April from founders Chris and Megan Stuart - it has been behind programmes as diverse as Conversations with Rowan Williams and The William Hill Poker Grand Prix.

RDF said pre-tax profits before flotation costs and one-off accountancy matters had risen 46% to pounds 2.2m during the six months to July 31 as the firm had made a total of 40 series and one-off shows.

The London-based firm supplied productions worth pounds 8.5m to the BBC, compared with pounds 1.1m in the 12 months before its flotation in April last year.

It also saw revenues lift 57% to pounds 37.5m over the half-year, with a helping hand from poker TV channel Presentable, which it acquired in April.

RDF revealed details of three brand new shows in the pipeline for the US market, including a pounds 3.2m deal for a reality show on ABC.

It also said the cable network A&E had ordered an unscripted comedy commission worth $US2.7m (pounds 1.5m), while the group was also making a pilot for MTV.

Chief executive David Frank said RDF was setting up a new division - RDF Digital Media - aimed at reaching audiences through the internet.

He said, 'We believe this will become an important source of income for the group in the future.'

In August, the company paid pounds 11m for Rab C Nesbitt maker The Comedy Unit and pounds 10m for Foundation TV, which is behind Ministry of Mayhem.

Unlike many other independent TV production firms, RDF has its own international dist- ribution business and consumer products arm that generates revenues from DVDs, books and merchandise linked to its hit shows. The group said turnover at the operation - which includes talent agency RDF Management - increased by 4.2% to pounds 6.2m, but insisted it did not reflect the 'substantial progress' made in the division.

RDF, which also makes Location, Location, Location and Shipwrecked, has offices in London, Glasgow, Bristol, Cardiff, New York and LA and employs around 500 people.

The company was founded in 1993 and managed to scoop Broadcast magazine's Best Production Company of the Year Award in 2002, 2004 and 2006
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 20, 2006
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