Spanish TV hit by ad revenue dip

Economic woes, fragmentation hit profits

LISBON — Spain’s leading private webs, Telecinco and Antena 3, posted 6% and 31% falls in net profits for the first half of this year.

Their reduced earnings, caused by a stalling Spanish economy and market fragmentation, follow record results last year.

Telecinco earned e198.87 million ($309.8 million), compared with $329.8 million in the same period last year. Antena 3 earned $124.6 million, compared with $163 million last year. Results at Telecinco, which is 50.1% owned by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, were further dampened by an $18.3 million goodwill write-down for the purchase of Endemol last year.

Telecinco’s audience share is down from 20.3% in 2007 to 19.1% in the first half of 2008, whereas Antena 3 has slipped from 17.4% to 16.1%.

Telecinco’s robust ad revenues and a 13.8% increase in other revenues, primarily co-production and merchandising rights, enabled it to outperform analysts’ projections and register a mere 1.6% dip in total revenues in this period to $873 million. By contrast, Antena 3’s revenues fell 11.5%, to $743 million.

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