Ads, Univision coin boost Televisa revs

Higher royalties help net sales rise to $446 million

MEXICO CITY — A bigger slice of Univision’s pay TV income and an uptick in domestic ad sales boosted first-quarter revenue for Televisa by 5%, while cost and debt restructuring contributed to a 200% increase of the bottom line.

The Mexican media conglom and No. 1 broadcaster saw net sales rise to 4.8 billion pesos ($446 million) from $426 million in the first three months of 2002.

The conglom attributed this to higher royalties from Univision communications under a renegotiated programming deal and to more air minutes sold on its four broadcast networks. Ad rev at the broadcast division, which accounted for 60% of the conglom’s overall sales, rose 2.2% to $272 million.

The top line also got a boost from a 13% jump in pay TV programming revenues to $14.5 million from cablers and direct-to-home systems in Mexico and Latin America.

Televisa reported group profits of $23 million, more than triple the $6.5 million for the first quarter of 2002.

The company attributed its improved bottom line to cost and debt restructuring.

Terrestrial broadcaster rival TV Azteca last week reported a 2% increase in sales but a 65% drop in profits, blamed on the weakening peso.

Televisa execs expect revenue in the second quarter to be flat compared with last year, which was powered by World Cup soccer.