Soft ad market slows Telefonica Media

Nieto's cost-cutting measures reflected in co.'s earnings

MADRID – First half results for Telefonica Media, the film and TV subsid of Spanish telco giant Telefonica, reflected TM’s exposure to a slowing TV ad market in Spain and Argentina.

But there may be some light at the end of a long tunnel for TM digital platform Via Digital.

Hit by a heavy debt load, TM saw net losses increase 79% to 156.5 million euros ($140.8 million) off revenues of $614.9 million. Figures also suggested the effects of a tighter cost-cutting regime under exec prexy Juan Jose Nieto: Telefonica Media posted earnings before interest, taxation, deductions and amortization of $62.2 million for the first half of the year, compared with a loss of $8.7 million for the same period a year earlier.

Ad revenues for Spanish commercial web Antena 3 and revenues at Atco, owner of private Argentinean net Telefe, slumped 8.5% and 19%, respectively.

Losses at satcaster Via Digital may, however, be bottoming out, although they remain daunting. TM lost $61.8 million from its 49% stake in Via, but that was worse by just 5% on a year earlier.

TM got a huge lift from its wholly owned sibsid Endemol. On a roll, the hot reality format creator and vendor saw revenues shoot up 73% to a record $405 million.