May 5, 2014 / 6:10 AM / 3 years ago

France's M6 posts 2 pct fall in first-quarter advertising sales

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PARIS, May 5 (Reuters) - French broadcaster M6 warned that its annual operating profit would fall if the advertising market continued to decline in the second half of the year.

The country's second-largest private broadcaster behind TF1 posted a 2 percent decline in first-quarter advertising revenue to 195.8 million euros ($271.5 million), citing a "morose" economic environment for big advertisers.

M6 was harder hit than larger rival TF1, which reported a slight drop of 0.4 percent in its first-quarter advertising sales to 354.1 million euros.

Overall revenue, which also includes sales from direct marketing activities and the Bordeaux soccer team, remained stable in the quarter at 312.2 million euros.

Operating profit fell 31 percent to 41.8 million euros, hurt by what the broadcaster said was different timing of programming costs, as well as lower advertising sales and weak results of Bordeaux soccer team. ($1 = 0.7212 Euros)

Reporting by Leila Abboud and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by David Goodman

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