* TF1 posts 26 pct drop in 2012 operating profit
* M6 posts 11 pct drop in 2012 EBITA
* TF1 sees sales down 3 pct in 2013
* TF1 proposes flat dividend on 2012 profits
PARIS, Feb 19 France's top two private
broadcasters, TF1 and M6, posted lower
profits last year as major advertisers cut spending in a
TF1 said on Tuesday it expected revenue to fall 3 percent
this year in a "deeply troubled economic environment" and
promised stricter controls on programming costs to cope. Sales
remained flat last year.
The stagnating French economy has led major advertisers to
scale back their marketing budgets, affecting ad agencies such
as Publicis as well as broadcasters.
French ad group Havas said separately that sales
in both France and Europe were close to flat last year, and
added that 2013 risked being another challenging year.
The economy is expected to grow only around 0.2-0.3 percent
this year, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on
Tuesday, after contracting 0.3 percent in the last three months
"Following growth in the first quarter, the contraction in
the ad market accelerated from May onwards," M6 said of last
TF1 posted a 26 percent decline in 2012 operating profit to
210.4 million euros on sales of 2.62 billion ($3.5 billion).
Advertising revenue at TF1's main channels slipped 2.5
percent to 1.77 billion euros, with growth coming mainly from
the group's newer digital channels and sports channel Eurosport.
M6 said its earnings before interest, tax and amortisation
(EBITA) slid 11 percent to 218.5 million euros last year. Sales
fell 2.4 percent to 1.39 billion.
The decline in operating profit resulted in part from
spending on broadcasting rights for the Euro 2012 soccer
tournament, M6 said.
The group added that it had nonetheless outperformed the TV
ad market by limiting the decline in its advertising revenue to
TF1, which competes with public broadcaster France
Televisions as well as M6, said it would propose a flat dividend
of 0.55 euros per share on 2012 results.
Havas said it posted an 8 percent rise in revenue overall
last year to 1.78 billion euros, driven by the Americas and the