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Antena 3 revenues hit $1.06 billion

Best ever full year results for Spanish broadcaster

MADRID — First it cleaned out its accounts, taking strict writedowns in 2003 against liabilities, now Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 has cleaned up.

The Antena 3 Group, which also houses radio net Onda Cero, reported its best ever full year revenues on Thursday: EUR816.8 million ($1.06 billion) for 2004. That can be put down largely to broadcaster Antena 3’s growing slice of a vibrant TV ad market: Antena 3 ad revs rose 26% over 2004 to $907.2 million with the web taking 27% of the Spain’s TV ad market.

Full year group net profits came in at $136.4 million; broadcaster Antena 3’s operating cash flow margins stood at 30%, a standout perf for a European broadcaster.

Under Antena 3 CEO Maurizio Carlotti, appointed after Spanish-Italian media group DeAPlaneta took over the broadcaster in April 2003, Antena 3 has slashed debt, lowered costs, and upped its market share to 20.8% for 2004, largely at the expense of RTVE’s commercial flagship channel TVE-1.

Flagship shows include the sex-souped primetime neighbours comedy “Aqui no hay quien viva,” plus its primetime movie slots.

“Results were good, fully in line with expectations, though costs were slightly higher than expected owing to costlier programming than rival Telecinco,” said Enrique Jimenez, an analyst at Ibersecurities.

Broadcaster Antena 3 can play off strong fundamentals in 2005, including a still buoyant ad market. Growth margins will naturally shrink, however, due to tougher comparables.