Spanish Broadcasters Post First-Half Results as Ad Market Drops 15.6%

9:04 AM PST 07/26/2012 by Pamela Rolfe

Mediaset shows a profit, while Antena 3 posts losses despite audience share growth.

MADRID – Spain’s two main private broadcasting groups — Mediaset and Antena 3 -- presented results marked by a drop in net earnings despite an increase in audience share Thursday against the backdrop of an advertising market that has dropped 15.6 percent in the first half of the year.

Mediaset Spain, which milked the lucrative European soccer championship rights that benefited from the national soccer team’s long-run in the competition that saw it win the title, posted a first-half net revenue of 474.24 million euros and a net profit of 37.64 million euros, a 7.9 percent rise over the same period last year. The company presented figures of the merged channels Telecinco and Cuatro together -- compared to Telecinco on its own last year.

The profit from the group’s television channels, including Telecinco and Cuatro, jumps to 5.24 million euros — a 9.5 percent climb — if intangibles linked to the merger between the two channels and the acquisition of pay plaltform Digital + are removed. Telecino saw its slice of the ad market grow 2.1 percent to 45.4 percent from an audience share that also grew to 30.6 percent in prime time.

Mediaset credited “the growing audience leadership of the group’s channels, the efficient advertising management undertaking by Publiespana in one of the most difficult years economically and, once again tight cost-cutting measures” for the figures.

“The investment made for the rights to events like the Euro Cup of soccer, the World Cup of Motorcycle Racing, Roldand Garros and Big Brother, among others, hasn’t prevented Mediaset Spain from closing the first half with and EBITDA of 41.28 million euro.

The advertising crisis and lack of Euro Cup rights left Antena 3 with a 66.8 percent fall in net profit in the first half of the year, with 17.9 million euros, with 33 percent of the advertising market. Net revenue slipped 8.6% to 384.7 million euros. Antena 3 Group’s EBITDA at 34.1 million euros.

But the main difference is exactly the hot subject on the table for the past two weeks: the fact that Mediaset can maket advertising packages that offer synergy between Cuatro and Telecinco, while Antena 3 cannot.

The results come just after competition authorities placed conditions deemed “unfair” by the Antena 3 group on its planned merger with smaller broadcaster La Sexta. The authorities placed more favorable conditions on Telecinco’s merger with similarly small Cuatro eight months ago -- saying they could operate as one company and limiting restrictions only to three years,compared to the five years placed on Antena 3.

Antena 3 has appealed the decision.

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