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Sky Deutschland Leads Year's European Entertainment Stock Gainers

Regulation Fears Hit Chinese Online Video Giants

U.K. TV giant ITV and German broadcaster ProSieben also gain, while Italy's Mediaset saw its stock decline in 2012.

German pay TV company Sky Deutschland, U.K. commercial TV company ITV and German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 were among the top-performing entertainment industry stocks of 2012, while Silvio Berlusconi's Italian media empire Mediaset saw its shares decline.  

Sky Deutschland's stock opened the year near its 52-week low of 1.37 euros, but finished it at $5.45 (4.13 euros), near its 52-week high of 4.20 euros. That meant the stock's value nearly tripled over the past year. The company, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns a nearly 50 percent stake, reported its first operating profit in five years in 2012.

ITV's stock gained 54.4 percent to close at $1.71 (1.05 pounds), near its 52-week high of 1.08 pounds as the company outperformed a weak U.K. TV advertising market and continued to grow its content arm ITV Studios.

ProSieben's shares rose 51 percent over the course of 2012 amid a solid financial performance and a sale late in the year of its Scandinavian business to Discovery Communications in a $1.7 billion deal.

French broadcaster TF1 also was one of the outperforms among European media and entertainment giants, as its stock gained 17 percent, beating the 14 percent increase in the broad-based Stoxx 600 index of European stocks. The gains came despite parts of the year that were dominated by fears about the debt and financial outlook for countries in Southern Europe.

U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB, in which News Corp. owns a 39.9 percent stake, and French media and telecom giant Vivendi were among the European industry stocks that posted slight gains in 2012. BSkyB advanced 4.7 percent, and Vivendi edged up 3.5 percent.

European broadcast giant RTL Group, part of German media powerhouse Bertelsmann, finished the year virtually unchanged with a 0.7 percent gain.

Mediaset was the biggest laggard among big European entertainment sector stocks. It finished the year down 27 percent at $ (1.56 euros). It had finished 2011 at 2.14 euros, near its 52-week high of 2.58 euros.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai