Mediaset Spain Earnings Rise Amid TV Ad Rebound

The results "reinforce our view that Spain is a high-momentum advertising market bouncing back strongly," says one analyst

More evidence of Spain's improved advertising market came on Wednesday as Mediaset Spain reported that its core earnings for the first nine months of 2014 jumped 68 percent over the previous year as it posted results that exceeded analysts' expectations.

The group, controlled by Silvio Berlusconi's Italian media giant Mediaset, said EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) hit $123 million (€96.8 million).

Revenue climbed 12.7 percent over the year-ago period to $839 million (€658.2 million), while adjusted profit amounted to $44.3 million (€34.8 million) for the nine-month period. The company did not break out third-quarter results.

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"The robust ... results reinforce our view that Spain is a high-momentum advertising market bouncing back strongly," said Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker.

Thanks to economic growth over the past two quarters and an increase in the number of brands, the Spanish advertising market grew 7.2 percent, marking the second consecutive quarter of ad growth in Spain, according to independent market analysis company Arce Media.

Investment in the TV ad market in Spain grew 13.7 percent over the same quarter last year to $465 million (€367.6 million). The first nine months saw a 6.9 percent increase to $1.6 billion (€1.3 billion) compared with the same period last year.

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In fact, television was the only medium that saw its share of the ad pie grow — by 2.6 percent over the same period last year.

Mediaset Spain closed the first nine months of the year with a record high for audience share with 30.6 percent. This was thanks to its flagship channel Telecinco, which registered 14.5 percent share, Cuatro with 7.9 percent and its other channels.

The group, which continues to snag the lion's share of TV ad spend in Spain with 44.4 percent of the market, grew 11.3 percent over the previous year, according to market analysis company Infoadex. Gross revenue from advertising hit $800 million (€628.3 million), with net income hitting $764 million (€599.6 million).

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