UPDATE 1-Mexican broadcaster Televisa posts strong gains in Q2 net profit

(Adds details from earnings report)

MEXICO CITY, July 7 (Reuters) - Grupo Televisa , Mexico’s largest broadcaster, on Tuesday reported strong gains in net profit due to reduced costs, although advertising sales dipped sharply amid the economic upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic.

Televisa reported a second-quarter net profit of 1.74 billion pesos ($75.8 million), nearly double its net profit of 919.1 million pesos during the same period last year. The company attributed the gains to a reduction in its financial costs.

Its net sales declined nearly 8% from the year-ago period to 22.4 billion pesos.

The impact of the coronavirus on Televisa’s advertising business could already be seen in the first quarter, and the blow intensified in the second quarter. Ad sales fell 33.1% from the year-ago quarter, Televisa said.

“The decrease is explained by a deterioration in the Mexican economy due to COVID-19, which led to a reduction in advertising budgets in many categories, such as food and beverages, retail, telecommunications, travel and entertainment outside the home,” Televisa said.

Sales in Televisa’s “other business” unit, a division that includes film distribution and a soccer team, fell even more sharply, plummeting 67.1%.

However, with many Mexican consumers stuck at home amid the pandemic, Televisa said its ratings climbed 18%, and the company also saw strong growth in its cable unit.

$1= 22.9570 pesos as of June 30, 2020 Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Cynthia Osterman