Telecinco logs record first half

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MADRID -- Spain's leading television broadcaster, Telecinco posted record first-half results Thursday, maintaining its position as one of Europe's most profitable networks, with $290.1 million in earnings.

The 13.5% year-to-year rise from last year's first half came thanks, in part, to strong advertising revenue of about $732 million, a 7.8% jump from last year. Overall sales totaled $784.2 million.

Telecinco is Spain's only broadcaster to grab more than a 20% audience share in the increasingly crowded and fragmented television landscape. That success is largely because of the channel boasting seven of Spain's top 10 primetime fiction series, including the "CSI" franchises and Spanish sitcom "Aida."

Meanwhile, rival private channel Antena 3's parent company Grupo Antena 3 announced Thursday first-half sales of $740 million, nearly identical to the same period last year.

The board said it will distribute a dividend of €0.40 per share among shareholders from its $160 million profit, down 13% from last year because of costs derived from sports rights.
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