Telecinco reports record earnings

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MADRID -- Spanish broadcaster Telecinco reigned as Europe's most profitable broadcaster Thursday as it reporting record earnings for 2007.

Telecinco saw profits jump 12.3% from last year to hit an unprecedented 353.06 million euros ($533.12 million) in earnings thanks to strict cost-cutting measures and a rise in advertising revenue.

Ad revenue, responsible for some 97% of the 2007 gross at the group's core channel, rose 9% from the previous year to reach 1 billion euros.

In a year marked by growing fragmentation in the television landscape -- including the uptake of DTT channels -- Telecinco pulled ahead of the pack of national Spanish broadcasters, taking 20.3% of the audience share, compared with rival commercial broadcaster Antena 3's 17.4% or pubcaster TVE's channel 1's 17.2%.

"This has been a year that we have impressively distanced ourselves from our competitors," Telecinco CEO Paolo Vasile said. "The growth of other television formulas has only made the solidity of our leadership in the field that we've always competed in that much clearer."

The channel regularly snags the lion's share of primetime audiences with the ever-popular "CSI" franchise and local sitcom "Aida."

Telecinco joined forces with its Italian parent company Mediaset in July, along with John de Mol and Goldman Sachs to buy 75% of blue-chip Dutch TV producer Endemol for $4 billion from Spanish telecom giant Telefonica.

Telecinco also has found success with its film production branch Telecinco Cinema, which co-produced four of Spain's top 10 domestic hits last year. Among them was Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Orphanage," which has earned $36.8 million in Spain and was released by Picturehouse in the U.S. in December.
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