Mediaset, Italy’s largest broadcaster controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has reported a Q2 loss as a slowdown in southern Europe cut demand for advertising.
The net loss was €8.1 million ($10.9 million) compared with a €20.8 million profit a year earlier. Sales were little changed at €904 million.
Mediaset is working to improve profit by cutting spending and selling stakes in businesses following declines in its southern European markets. The company, which competes with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia, is also investing in sports rights and content to lure higher-paying customers. It may face stronger competition after BSkyB agreed to buy Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland stakes last week from Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
Mediaset is considering a content partnership with Spain’s Telefonica (TEF) SA in Italy and elsewhere, Chief Financial Officer Marco Giordani said on a conference call. He confirmed a full-year sales target of €550 million for pay-TV unit Premium.
Q2 earnings before interest and taxes dropped to €79.9 million from €80.2 million a year earlier, Mediaset said.