Berlusconi, and Mediaset, back in power


ROME -- A day after Silvio Berlusconi was elected to head his fourth government, media analysts said the billionaire media mogul's return to power could mean a partial return to old business strategies for broadcast giant Mediaset.

Berlusconi, Mediaset's largest shareholder, probably will shift government ad buys from RAI to his networks, analysts said.

And with a planned reform that would have capped Mediaset's share of the domestic ad market almost certainly abandoned, the broadcaster also is likely to increase its attention to the local market, which it had begun to de-emphasize in favor of foreign territories, where the proposed caps would not have an impact.

"With Berlusconi back in power, Mediaset is now likely to look more like the old Mediaset" from Berlusconi's last terms (2001-06), Hildebrandt and Ferrar analyst Javier Noriega said.

One thing that will not change is Mediaset's planned evolution into more of a content producer, as evidenced by the company's acquisition of reality TV producer Endemol, the decision to move filmmaker Medusa under the Mediaset umbrella and the signing of exclusive content deals with Universal and Warner Bros.