TV groups back to pre-recession sales levels

Analysis of the consolidated accounts for the first half of 2010 published by the 12 largest private television groups in Europe shows a significant rise in activity levels, says the European Audiovisual Observatory. The turnover of these 12 groups was E17.6 billion, compared to E16.1 billion in the first half of 2009 and E17.6 billion in the first half of 2008. This total does not take into account the turnover of Five, the British channel that was sold by the RTL Group in June 2010. Taking this sale into account, the rate of growth of the 12 largest groups compared to the first half of 2009 is exactly 10 per cent.

The groups financed mainly through advertising, which were worst affected by the recession of 2008 and 2009, showed a slight improvement, with the highest growth figures recorded by Polish group TVN (+18.9 per cent), the Mediaset group, which operates in Italy and Spain (+16.7 per cent), the French TF1 group (+13.7 per cent) and the British ITV group (+8.6 per cent).  Various disinvestment operations were carried out during the first half of the year: in addition to the sale of Five by the RTL Group, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation group sold btv, the largest Bulgarian channel, while the Central European Media Enterprises group sold its Ukrainian channels (Studio 1+1 and Kino) in January 2010.

In 2009, pay-TV groups had coped better with the economic crisis than the groups mainly funded through advertising. However, their results in the first half of 2010 were more mixed. It is true that British group BSkyB achieved 10.2 per cent growth in the first half of 2010. With turnover of GBP 5.9 billion for its 2009/10 tax year, which ended on 30 June, BSkyB recorded 11 per cent growth, including a 15 per cent rise in subscription income. However, the other groups did not register the same level of growth:

The Spanish Prisa group was the only group still in decline (-12.8 per cent in the first half of 2010). This is largely due to a 22.7 per cent drop in turnover for the Digital + package and a 10.6 per cent fall in turnover for the Portuguese group Media Capital (TVI channels), whereas the turnover of Cuatro, a channel funded by advertising, rose by 52.4 per cent.

Within the French Vivendi group, the Canal+ group saw its turnover increase by 3.1 per cent during the first half of the year. This is a modest increase compared to that achieved by the group as a whole (+6.1 per cent).

In Germany, Sky Deutschland’s turnover only rose by 1.6 per cent. The group is struggling to increase subscriber numbers and, in a delicate financial situation, is seeking to sign agreements with cable operators.

In Italy, the Sky Italia group (which does not publish detailed quarterly results) announced that turnover had been steady during its tax year ending June 30th 2010.

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