Q1 income plummets at Televisa

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa on Wednesday reported that first-quarter net income plummeted nearly 46% on increased expenses, higher income taxes and losses at affiliates.

Mexico's top network said net income fell to 734 million pesos ($66 million), down from about 1.3 billion pesos for the year-earlier period.

Televisa attributed the decline to losses at its broadcast TV division, publishing distribution unit and investments related to Spanish television network La Sexta, in which it holds a 40% stake.

As for expenses, Televisa was hit with a nonrecurring charge for selling its stake in U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. Televisa's broadcast TV unit, the company's top revenue generator, posted a 3.8% drop in net sales due to the absence of revenues earned from political advertising and World Cup transmissions a year ago.

Despite the lower than expected results, Televisa's pay TV units performed well. Satcaster Sky Mexico saw its subscriber base grow from 1.3 million to more than 1.4 million clients, with net sales rising 11%.

Cablevision, the Televisa-owned cabler serving the Mexico City area, posted a 28% spike in sales thanks to significant increases in cable TV and broadband Internet subscribers. Cablevision expects to add phone services later this year.

Total net sales came in at 8.2 billion pesos ($774 million), representing a 5.9% jump from a year ago.

Known throughout the world for its popular telenovelas, Televisa said programming exports climbed 18%. Looking to boost programming sales to the Chinese market, Televisa earlier this week held talks with China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

In another new development, the Financial Times reported last week that Televisa is one of at least five groups looking to buy Telefonica's 75% stake in Dutch content provider Endemol. Televisa has not confirmed the bid.
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