Mediaset: ‘We’re losing less subs than the competition’

Mediaset’s pay-TV service Mediaset Premium will break-even later than planned, but remains a strategic activity for the Italian commercial broadcaster, according to vice president Pier Silvio Berlusconi.

During the presentation of the autumn schedules in Milan, he pointed out that pay-TV represents a “declining market” during the economic crisis, although Mediaset Premium has lost much less than many other pay-TV operators and is, in fact, gaining market share, at the expense of competition.

Berlusconi believes that Mediaset Premium remains an interesting asset, as more than one foreign company have expressed interest in the pay-TV venture, although there are no ongoing talks. Significantly, Mediaset Premium has also created an alternative to Sky Italia, thus preventing a monopoly situation on the market.

Commenting on plans by rival broadcaster Telecom Italia Media to sell La7, Berlusconi said that he doesn’t see any Italian media groups capable of acquiring the national TV channel.

Berlusconi revealed that Mediaset is prepared to negotiate an exchange of TV rights to the Champions League with Mediaset (Mediaset has the rights to the Wednesday match plus all of the Europe League, while Sky has the rights to the Tuesday match).

Despite a 10 per cent drop in advertising revenues year-on-year, Berlusconi announced that Mediaset will invest €2 billion in content and programmes during 2012, of which €1.5 billion in Italy alone. In order to balance the books, Mediaset also plans to reduce costs by €250 million over a three-year period.

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