Spanish channels post fall in profits

Telecinco; Antena 3 also record ad cash fall

MADRID – The media giants controlling Spain's two main private television channels, Telecinco and Antena 3, posted a slump in profits Thursday and a slump in advertising revenues for the first half of 2008.

Telecinco Group said its net profits in the January to June reporting period hit 199 million euros ($310.6 million), down 6% from the same period a year ago, while Antena 3 Group reported a 31% slump in net profits to 80 million euros ($125 million).

Income at Telecinco slipped to 563 million euros ($879 million), a 1.6% loss from 572 million euros a year ago while Antena 3 suffered a 11.5% fall in income to 477 million euros ($745 million).

Advertising sales at Telecinco, Spain's leading private channel, was off 2.5% to 536.4 million euros ($837.3 million), while Antena 3's ad revenue fell to 402 million euros ($627.5 million), a 10.5% loss compared to the first half of 2007.

The decline in ad sales was consistent with overall Spanish sector results released last week by ad market monitoring firm Infoadex which said general television broadcast ad spend was down by 4.1% to 1.7 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in the first half of the year.

Analysts blame Spain's stuttering economy for the fall in ad spending.