Televisa 2nd qtr. net income rises

Increase due to reality skeins, ads, Univision $

MEXICO CITY — Grupo Televisa, Mexico’s largest broadcaster, reported a 2.3% bump in net income for the second quarter, thanks to income from reality shows, seasonal political advertising and a still-growing chunk of pay TV income from Univision.

The media conglom reported net income of 1.3 billion pesos ($121.7 million), up from $115.6 million a year earlier.

The mild increase was based on net sales that rose to $551.2 million from $520 million in the second quarter of 2002.

Strong sales growth

Televisa said its broadcasting group benefited from political advertising leading up to Mexico’s July 6 national congressional elections, as well as the success of the second edition of hit “Big Brother.”

The broadcasting division saw an 8.2% growth in sales, to $359 million, or 64% of Televisa’s overall top line. Sales for both the second quarter of this year and the same period last year were unusually high, thanks to this year’s national elections and 2002’s soccer World Cup. Excluding the one-time events, Televisa said broadcasting sales rose 4.9%.

Meanwhile, Televisa continued to reap benefits from increasing royalties from Univision under a licensing agreement between the two concerns. Royalties for the period were $24.9 million, including a royalty from the TeleFutura network under the deal.

Top line was also boosted by an 11.3% uptick in pay TV programming sales, to $16.2 million, from cablers and direct-to-home systems in Mexico and Latin America. Figure was offset, however, by decreased ad sales.

Piracy problems

Sales from the conglom’s radio division were up 35%, to $6 million in large part due to the elections, but the cable unit saw a 20% sales decrease to $23 million, which Televisa blamed on decreased subscriptions and climbing piracy due to a 10% telecommunications tax.

Earlier this week, TV Azteca, Televisa’s main competitor and Mexico’s second-largest broadcaster, said it expects to report a dip of 4% in year-to-year quarterly sales when it releases its second-quarter earnings at the end of the month.

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