money digest


TV Azteca loss

Mexican network TV Azteca on Wednesday swung to a first-quarter loss on rising expenses and a big increase in tax payments for presale ads. Mexico's No. 2 broadcaster posted a quarterly loss of 625 million pesos ($59 million), compared with a profit of 184 million pesos a year ago. Revenue came in flat for the quarter at $169 million, a 1% increase. The company said it took a $45 million hit on higher taxes related to presale ads for the period. Also cutting into earnings were $22 million in pre-operating expenses for UHF channel Proyecto 40, which Azteca brought onto its books for the first quarter. Azteca America, the U.S. Spanish- language network owned by TV Azteca, saw a 17% drop in sales owing to "the adverse economic environment in the U.S."

Channel 4 mixed

LONDON — Increased programming costs, falling revenue and investment in digital services played a part in U.K. broadcaster Channel 4's posting a mixed bag of financials for 2007. Channel 4 reported an operating loss of £7.8 million ($15.5 million) for its core channel, its first annual deficit since 1992. The government-funded broadcaster said that programming costs for the core Channel 4 service increased more rapidly than revenue. But there was some good news, with Channel 4's digital TV channel offerings collectively in the black for the first time. Overall, Channel 4 Group hit a pretax profit of £1.6 million ($3.2 million) in 2007, a slump from the £21.3 million recorded in 2006. Revenue was flat, with the £48.1 million ($95.8 million) increase in advertising revenue balancing falling revenue from rights and other sources. Falling revenue came on the back of factors including reduced income from premium-rate telephone services.