Mediapro puts 1,200 staff on temporary employment, cuts management salaries

Barcelona-based rights and production group Mediapro has filed for a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) which the business has said will affect as many as 1,200 of its employees.

The move will only affect staff in Spain and will require board members to take a paycut of 50 per cent, while lower-paid workers will continue to be paid the entirety of their salaries, according to the Europa Press agency.

The news comes as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to ravage Spain.

Mediapro told SportBusiness Media: “The Mediapro ERTE is a necessary decision to preserve the company’s activity and the maximum number of jobs possible faced with the shut down the pandemic implied. When the company returns to normal activity, these workers will return to their posts.

“In addition, we also supplement the State subsidy for these workers.”

An ERTE allows Spanish businesses to suspend employment contracts or reduce staff hours indefinitely due to ‘force majeure’ circumstances, while applying for the state to pay a portion of employee wages. 

Salaries will be subsidised by the state with staff earning below €80,000 ($86,457) receiving no cuts to their salaries, while those earning above that threshold face cuts of between 15 and 25 per cent. 

Although these measures will only affect staff in Spain, Mediapro has announced that it intends to impose equivalent measures in accordance with the laws of the 36 countries in which it has offices.

Mediapro’s business has, like others, been adversely affected by the pandemic which has postponed or cancelled sporting events across the globe. The production sector has been particularly hit by the blanket postponement of live sports events. Properties which have been postponed indefinitely or cancelled altogether which Mediapro holds rights to include the Spanish LaLiga and Portuguese Primera Liga. 

Mediapro recently reported a drop in annual revenues but a €2m uplift in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda). The group announced Ebitda of €224m for 2019, up from €222m in 2018, as turnover fell from €1.97bn to €1.82bn.

Mediapro attributed the fall in turnover to “the effects of modifications in certain audiovisual rights contracts and the end of the contract to the rights to LaLiga in Spain”.

Company debt at the end of 2019 stood at €727m. The company was taken over by China’s Orient Hontai Capital in 2018.

Mediapro is launching subscription channels in France this summer on the back of its €780m-per-season contract for eight Ligue 1 rights packages from 2020-21 to 2023-24. Rights to the second-tier Ligue 2 have also been secured over the same period.