Azteca Q1 income tumbles 42%

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca on Wednesday saw first-quarter net income tumble 42% due to the absence of ad revenue generated from political spots and World Cup transmissions a year ago.

Mexico City-based Azteca posted a quarterly net profit of 179 million pesos ($16 million), down from 309 million pesos a year earlier.

In the first quarter of 2006, Mexican networks benefited from a windfall in ad revenues earned from political advertising ahead of the presidential election. Also during that period, broadcasters here had solid revenue growth thanks to ads placed during transmissions of World Cup soccer matches.

"The results this quarter are not completely comparable with those of the previous year due to the strong ad investment related to extraordinary events in 2006," TV Azteca CEO Mario San Roman said in a company statement.

Net sales dropped 5% to 1.78 billion pesos.

San Roman said that sales also were affected because the company terminated its advertising contract with wireless telephone firm Unefon.

Quarterly sales for Azteca America, TV Azteca's U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster, increased by 6% to 121 million pesos. Azteca America ranks third behind market leaders Univision and NBC Universal's Telemundo.

Pappas Telecasting recently announced it was terminating affiliation contracts with Azteca America in Houston, San Francisco and three small markets. The network says it is analyzing affiliation agreements with new partners for the Houston and San Francisco stations.

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