Grupo Televisa posts 44% quarter jump

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa on Thursday recorded a 44% jump in third-quarter profit on strong growth from its broadcast and pay TV divisions.

The nation's leading network said that quarterly net income rose to 2.48 billion pesos ($226 million), compared with 1.73 billion pesos a year earlier.

Televisa saw net sales grow 9.1% to 9.22 billion pesos ($860 million). The Mexico City-based broadcaster said the increase was attributable to solid growth at its broadcast TV unit and satcaster Sky Mexico, the media giant's top two revenue generators.

A 4.5% increase in broadcast TV sales was driven by revenue earned from World Cup soccer matches, telenovelas and reality shows.

On the pay TV front, Sky Mexico's subscriber base climbed 16% for the quarter to about 1.4 million. Cablevision, Televisa's cable TV outfit, saw a 17% spike in its subscriber base, finishing the quarter with some 475,000 clients.

Televisa, which controls 70% of Mexico's broadcast television market, has long been looking to boost its presence in the U.S. Hispanic market, where the growth potential is considerably more attractive.

This quarter, programming exports climbed 19%, a large chunk of which comes from content sold to Univision, Televisa's stateside partner.

In June, Televisa and its equity partners lost an auction to acquire Univision, the leading U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster. The Televisa-led consortium was edged out by a group of investors made up of Providence Equity Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, Texas Pacific Group Inc. and media mogul Haim Saban.

After the failed bid to acquire its U.S. partner, Televisa said it planned to see its 11% stake in Univision. Televisa expects the sale to fetch about $1.1 billion.

Televisa also said it will be exploring new opportunities to distribute its content in the U.S. "Amor Mio," a sitcom Televisa co-produced with Argentina's RGB, bowed on NBC Universal's Telemundo this week.

Here in Mexico, Televisa stands to benefit from a recently enacted convergence agreement, which gives cablers and phone carriers the green light to offer triple play services. Televisa said it plans to pump $250 million-$500 million into triple play over the next three years.
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