February 22, 2019 / 1:38 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico's Televisa reports sharply lower fourth-quarter profit

(Adds details from report)

MEXICO CITY, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Mexican broadcaster Televisa reported on Thursday that its fourth-quarter net profit fell about 84 percent from the year-earlier quarter, hampered by weaker advertising revenue and a loss for its secondary businesses.

Grupo Televisa, Mexico’s largest broadcaster, posted net profit for the quarter ended Dec. 31 of 56.6 million pesos ($2.9 million), down from 343 million pesos a year before.

Net sales climbed slightly to 26.7 billion pesos ($1.36 billion) from 26 billion pesos in the prior-year period.

Like other broadcasters worldwide, Televisa has struggled to offset declines in advertising revenue as streaming services gain more viewers.

Its revenue in that segment dropped 3.7 percent in the quarter because of weaker government spending, Televisa said.

The broadcaster has sought to double down on its core business of content and distribution, selling its stake in Spanish media group Imagina and exploring the sale of assets in gaming and radio.

During 2018, the company said that income for related businesses fell from the prior year because of the absence of Imagina and a reduced stake in Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Holdings Inc, the parent of Univision Communications Inc. The segment recorded a loss in the fourth quarter.

Televisa also said it finished evaluating a spinoff of certain divisions, including its cable unit, and decided not to proceed with the plan.

$1 = 19.6650 pesos at end-December Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Julia Love; Editing by Delphine Schrank and Peter Cooney

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