Higher ad rates spark profit jump at Televisa

Co. claims 75% of terrestrial TV share

MEXICO CITY — Televisa reported solid growth last year, building on higher advertising rates and stable audience share. The web saw profits jump 21% to $504 million as group net sales rose 6% to $2 billion.

Execs attributed the revenue increase to higher prices for commercial airtime, especially upfront advertising, and a higher number of minutes sold.

Televisa’s terrestrial TV network, the group powerhouse, reported a 10% jump in sales to $1.3 billion.

Company also claimed 75% overall terrestrial TV aud share, in line with the 1999 stat, and 48 of the 50 most popular programs during the year.

At the same time, group operational costs fell 7%, as three years of fat-trimming, which has seen thousands of jobs cut, continued.

That drop would have been sharper without the ambitious launch of Televisa’s Internet portal Esmas.com in the spring at a cost of $76 million. After teething problems, site was remodeled and completed shortly before Christmas.

Televisa’s figures are expected to remain solid with the web last month reporting record 2001 upfront sales of just over $1 billion. The 23% jump over 2000 followed price hikes of around 30% as execs try to bring Mexico’s TV ad market into line with the rest of Latin America.