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TF1 takes a tumble

B'caster cites weak ad market for plunge in earnings

PARIS — Leading French web TF1 on Wednesday posted a 23.9% drop in consolidated profits to €111.9 million ($111 million) for the first half of 2002.

Operating profits fell 19.2% to $200.2 million on revs of $1.35 billion.

The Gallic broadcaster, among the companies eyeing the assets of Germany’s failed Kirch Group, blamed a weak advertising market for profits closer to the lower end of an expected range of $109 million-$119 million.

It warned that if the market did not pick up, ad coin for the year could be on a par with 2001 figures.

The pro forma figures take into account TF1’s increased stake in the satellite platform TPS, which was consolidated to 50% in the first half of 2002 and will rise to 66% in the second half of the year.

Acquisition of the TV rights to this year’s soccer World Cup had a big impact on TF1’s programming costs, which rose 21.4% to $449 million. Without the sporting event, they were up 3.1% to $382 million.

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