Web reports $16.2 million for first quarter

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s No. 2 web TV Azteca said net profit in the first quarter fell 42% as revenues slipped compared with last year when political ads bolstered sales.

Web, owned by retail and mobile telephony magnate Carlos Salinas Prieto, reported first quarter net profit of 179 million pesos ($16.2 million) compared with $28.1 million in the same period last year.

Quarterly revenue was down 5% to nearly $161.3 million versus almost $170.3 million in the period a year ago when the net enjoyed windfall ad revenue ahead of presidential elections and the summer soccer World Cup. Revenue also was down because of the termination of an ad sales contract with Salinas-owned mobile telephone company Unefon, the web said.

Sales at U.S. subsid Azteca America rose 6% to $11 million compared with $10.3 million in first quarter 2006.

Pappas Telecasting recently announced it would end its affiliate agreement with Azteca America in five markets, including Houston and the Sacremento-San Francisco area, citing lower-than-expected ratings growth. TV Azteca blamed a long-standing dispute and $132 million it says Pappas still owes Azteca.

TV Azteca stock was up 1.01% on the Mexican Bolsa to close at 90 cents.

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