Spain's Atresmedia Closes Gap with Mediaset

Amidst hard-hit ad market, Spanish broadcasters post results that show Atresmedia gaining ground in audience and revenue.

MADRID -- Mediaset Spain said Wednesday its nine-month profit plummeted 45 percent compared to the same period last year, sitting at €22.1 million ($30.4 million) due to a limp advertising market leading to a 13.7 percent drop in advertising revenue.

Mediaset Spain, owner of TV channels Telecinco and Cuatro among others, earned €524 million ($720 million) in advertising from January to September this year compared to €607 million in the same period last year.

Even so, Mediaset fared better than the overall figures for Spain,which saw TV advertising revenue fall 10.4 per cent to €1.2 billion ($1.64 billion) between January and September. Mediaset cornered 43.7 percent of the television advertising spending, according to InfoAdex.

Total net revenues for Mediaset Spain through September 30 totaled €583.9 million ($802 million), down 7.3 percent, with net advertising revenues of € 538.2 million ($740 million) and €45.7 million ($62.8) in other income.

The company trumpeted the fact that it is debt-free and boasts a positive cash flow at this stage in Spain’s financial crisis.

The gross operating profit (EBITDA) adjusted for the first nine months of the year stood at €57.6 million, 42 percent more.

The group presented 28.9 percent average share for the group’s handful of channels and a 13.3 percent for flagship channel Telecinco. But rival broadcaster Atresmedia -- which has traditionally sat behind the Silvio Berlusconi-backed Mediaset -- led group audience share and posted impressive gains in the market.

The group’s channels averaged 25.8 percent audience share, according to InfoAdex.

While Mediaset kept its precarious position atop Spain’s television landscape with the most solid figures, Atresmedia presented a whopping 514 percent leap in net profit to hit €28.3 million ($39 million) in the first nine months of the year, the company reported to the National Securities Market (CNMV).

Atresmedia, which includes flagship network Antena 3, benefited from an increase in value of financial assets linked to the former shareholders of LaSexta. Revenue rose 13.3 percent to 581 million from the merger with La Sexta. EBITDA for the group jumped 91.5 percent to €45.5 million.

Atresmedia TV revenues increased by 15.7 percent to €512.3 million ($704 million), while the radio fell 5.4 percent to €56 million.

According InfoAdex, Atresmedia took  43.1 percent of the ad spend, a 3 percent rise compared to the combined results of Antena 3 and La Sexta from the same period in 2012. Other income, which mainly includes sales for soccer-based channel Gol TV, sales licenses, content, merchandising, auditext and SMS services amounted to €21.5 million ($29.5 million). The group's debt amounted to €134.3 million ($184.5 million) compared to €132.9 million recorded at the end of 2012.