MEXICAN TV GIANT EYES U.S. HISPANICS

'Strategic Conversations' Underway, Exec Says

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Mexican TV giant Televisa is increasingly eyeing the U.S. Hispanic market.

"We've been reviewing strategic alternatives to expand into the U.S. and conducting strategic conversations with U.S. media players," Alberto Islas, Televisa's head of investor relations, said today at UBS Warburg's Media Week conference.

Televisa already owns 5.8% of the dominant U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, a stake that Mr. Islas said brings Televisa about $80 million a year. Televisa also supplies all Univision's daytime programming, which brings in 40% of Univision's ad revenue, he said.

Entertainment options
Televisa is

particularly interested in entertainment options in the U.S. Hispanic market involving the publishing or music industries, he said.

Televisa gets 58% of its sales from TV broadcasting and 7.8% from magazine publishing.

In Mexico, Televisa's net sales were down 4.4% for the first nine months of this year, and the company revised its 2001 forecast downward to a decline of between 3% and 4.5%, Mr. Islas said.

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In addition to a reluctance by advertisers to commit to budgets, he said ad revenue is down partly because last year Televisa took in $100 million for political advertising during a free-spending Mexican presidential campaign.

Layoffs, closures
To cut costs, Televisa this year has fired 750 people, or 5% of its staff, closed an international 24-hour news channel called Eco that was losing $10 million a year, shuttered two studios and cut Internet investment.

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