TV comes up big in Prisa first half

Sogecable turnover his $1.65 bil for first time

MADRID -- Sogecable, the TV subsidiary of Spanish media giant Prisa, has registered a first-half profit of 1 billion euros ($1.56 billion) while Prisa's broader audiovisual arm posted a 16% jump in ad revenue, to 291 million euros ($456 million).

In first-half results statement released Wednesday, Prisa said that its free-to-air channel Cuatro, which debuted two years ago, garnered 174 million euros ($272.6 million) in ad sales for the January-June period, up 22.3% from a year ago. Ad revenue at subscriber channel Digital Plus, meanwhile, was flat at 15 million euros ($23.5 million).

Prisa CEO Juan Luis Cebrian said in May that the company would sell all or part of Digital Plus, ending months of speculation about what Prisa planned to do with the dominant player in Spain's pay TV market.

Ad revenue at the company's Portuguese television operations, Media Capital, rose 21.7% to 93 million euros ($145.7 million).

Prisa said the Cuatro's audience share continued to rise with a monthly average of 9.3%.

In June, when Cuatro was the only free-to-air channel broadcasting Spain's march to triumph in the Euro 2008 soccer championship, audience share jumped to 13%.

Prisa Group's overall net profits were up 18.6% to 87 million euros ($136.3 million).