(Adds regulatory reform background)
MEXICO CITY, April 28 (Reuters) - Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa, the world’s biggest provider of Spanish-language content, said on Monday first-quarter profit fell 20 percent from a year earlier, a period that reflected a gain from offloading distribution rights.
The company reported a profit of 853.9 million pesos ($65 million), compared with 1.07 billion pesos in the year-ago period.
Televisa did not mention recent regulatory changes in its home market of Mexico that could help competitors of its broadcast, Internet and pay television businesses.
A one-time gain related to distribution rights with DirecTV in the United States created additional income for the company in 2013, but the absence of that gain, coupled with higher legal and consulting costs, created an unfavorable net-profit comparison, Televisa said.
Excluding those one-time items, Televisa said profit rose 3 percent to 3.15 billion pesos, from 3.06 billion pesos in the January-through-March period a year earlier.
Revenue rose 9 percent to 16.924 billion pesos, helped by higher advertising sales and program royalties.
Mexico’s government in March presented a bill that fleshed out last year’s constitutional reform to increase competition in the country’s television, telephone and Internet sectors. The bill is in limbo, however, as politicians argue over its content.
Televisa has criticized the bill, saying it would impose unprecedented and “disproportionate” obligations that go far beyond what a regulator would require.
Televisa shares closed down 0.08 percent at 84.32 pesos on Monday shortly before the results were released. ($1 = 13.06 pesos at end March) (Reporting by Elinor Comlay, Alexandra Alper and Christine Murray; editing by Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang)