Profits down at Spain's biggest TV companies

Telecinco, Antena 3 suffer from advertising decline

MADRID -- The parent companies of Spain's two leading television channels Telecinco Group and Antena 3 Group, reported first-half profit plunges Thursday, blaming the anemic advertising sector for their disappointing results.

Telecinco Group, which owns the country's most popular channel, said its net profit for the January-June period was €62.2 million ($87.5 million), down 68.7% from the same period a year ago.

Income from advertising was €309.4 million ($435 million), a fall of 43.2% compared to 2008.

Telecinco CEO Paolo Vasile forecast a hard second half but said the company was expecting to overcome its difficulties by counting on austerity measures, a hoped-for improvement in the Spanish economy and more ad revenue flowing to private channels after the country's state-owned broadcaster RTVE stops accepting advertising from next year.

On Wednesday, the Spanish senate passed a bill ending advertising on RTVE's channels.

In its Q2 statement, Antena 3 Group reported a net profit of €22.7 million ($32 million), 71.6% less than last year's first quarter figure of €80 million. Net income at the broadcaster was off 19.5% to €365.5 million ($514 million).

Antena 3 said income was down due to a drop in advertising but did not release revenue figures.