Italian free-to-air broadcaster Mediaset is looking to expand outside Italy, and its CEO Pier Silvio
Berlusconi is quoted (by Bloomberg) as saying that the broadcaster is looking at various strategic options which include launching FTA channels in the UK, Germany or France. Mediaset has the cash in hand to consider these options having sold off its Mediaset Premium pay-TV business (to Vivendi).
Equity analysts at Deutsche Bank say: “From speaking to the company we understand this is being considered as just one of many strategic options and would be thematic, niche channels or partnerships with other players, rather than larger mass generalist channels. But it highlights how cross-border synergies appear to be growing for both free and pay-TV as a result of OTT and higher production costs, with broadcasters also seeking to grow beyond mid-cycle ad markets. It has been perceived wisdom that cross-border synergies have been very limited for free-to-air broadcasting.”
However, Berlusconi’s team say their interest in the UK has been “tempered” by the recent Brexit vote.