Antena 3 profits squeezed

Ad rev falls; costs rise

MADRID — Loss of share and rising costs dented sales and squeezed margins at Spanish commercial broadcaster Antena 3 TV in the first half of the year.

Hit by a 2.3% drop in ad revenues, revenue edged down 1.2% year-on-year to Euros 472.9 million ($646.5 million); net income plunged 14.2% to $152.6 million.

Notwithstanding this, Antena 3’s results remain a standout for a European web.

“Despite a weaker performance, these are still good results. The broadcaster is very profitable and well managed. And though Antena 3’s share has decreased, it looks to have bottomed out,” said Glen Spencer Chapman at Ibersecurities.

“Dividend yield this year could be 6%-7%, which is huge,” he added.

A3TV’s audience share slid from 20.4%, first half 2006, to 17.9% a year later.

Programming costs rose 14.5% to $240.3 million.

Costs have swelled in Spain since the launch of two new analog broadcasters, Cuatro and La Sexta. Also, Antena 3 has jointly acquired rights to Europe’s UEFA Champions League soccer tourney. It suffered bad luck when both Real Madrid and Barcelona soccer clubs made an early exit from this season’s competition.

A3TV management has worked overtime to find a hit show to reverse share slide.

Its biggest new skein has been “El internado,” a boarding school thriller that has become the highest rating new domestic series in recent years in Spain, averaging a first season 23.9% share and 4.1 million viewers.

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