Cuatro goes into black

MADRID — Powered by standout results from its new broadcaster Cuatro, Spanish pay TV giant Sogecable turned Euros 34.8 million ($47.1 million) in second quarter net profits off $649.8 million in total 2Q sales, up 12% on 2006.

Over April-June 2006, Sogecable net income was $6.1 million. Cuatro notched up an all-day 8.1% channel share in June, a remarkable result for a channel launched only in November 2005.

Channel share was driven by flagship series “House” (18.9%), plus above-channel perfs from new Spanish cop drama “Countdown” (12.5%) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (11.4%) .

For the first quarter ever, Cuatro turned operating profits, which reached $21.2 million.

“Cuatro could well turn operating profits for the whole year,” predicted one analyst.

Results at satcaster Digital Plus were also upbeat, thanks in part to a nerve-biting finale to the Spanish soccer league, which boosted pay-per-view subscription.

ARPU — average payment per subscriber — rose 8% to $62.9 Despite upbeat results, Sogecable shares rose a moderate $1.8% in morning trading on Madrid’s stock exchange.

From late 2007, Sogecable will jointly acquire and market programming and services with Telefonica, offering triple play service Trio Plus.

But there’s not much visibility over its longterm retention of soccer rights. This month Spain’s Mediapro announced it had closed rights to nearly all significant Spanish soccer clubs from 2009.

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