Mediaset posts €101.5m Q3 net profit but ad sales suffer

Italy-based commercial broadcasting group Mediaset has posted a net profit of €101.5m ($110m) for the first nine months of 2019 amid a 20.6-per-cent reduction in total operating costs to €1.84bn.

The net profit figure marks a significant year-on-year increase on the €27m posted by Mediaset for the first nine months of 2018.

Net revenues did fall from €2.43bn to €2.03bn in the first nine months of 2019. In 2018, the broadcaster held exclusive rights to the Fifa World Cup and the absence of related advertising revenues this year impacted its figures.

Last year also spelled the end of Mediaset’s coverage of football’s Italian Serie A and Uefa Champions League, with pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia assuming rights. Subscription OTT platform DAZN also holds selected rights to Serie A matches.

Mediaset owns free-to-air and pay-TV channels in Italy, along with Spanish free-to-air commercial channels Cuatro and Telecinco.

Mediaset’s results also led to the broadcaster’s net debt increasing to €1.64bn and domestic advertising revenues dropping from €1.458bn to €1.33bn year-on-year.

Mediaset said: “This performance was, as expected, impacted by the lack of advertising sales connected to the Premium Calcio [pay-TV] offer, which was still ongoing in the early part of 2018 and the difference with the June-July period of 2018 which included the benefits deriving from Mediaset’s exclusive coverage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.”

Earlier this week, Mediaset raised its interest in German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 through the acquisition of a 5.5-per-cent stake. Together with a stake already held by Mediaset Group, Mediaset has now secured a total of 15.1 per cent of the share capital, making it ProSieben’s largest investor.