Italian broadcaster Mediaset has said it only sees a future for free-to-air TV and on-demand content as traditional pay-TV continues to face challenges.
The prediction was made by Mediaset vice-president and CEO, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, during the presentation of the broadcaster’s upcoming 2018 World Cup coverage.
The future fof Mediaset, which already has a strong presence in Italy and Spain, will rely on agreements and partnerships at the international level, with Berlusconi mentioning TF1, ITV and ProSieben as some of the potential partners.
In the meantime, Mediaset is talking with Netflix “for possible collaborations ranging from a sale of content to any co-productions”.
Regarding its pay-TV unit Mediaset Premium which has 1.5 million subscribers, Berlusconi said it is moving to a “lighter model, like over-the-top”, less dependent on football, and mostly relying on movies and TV series.
Mediaset’s immediate focus is on the World Cup, with all 64 games to be broadcaster FTA on four of its TV channels (Canale 5, Italia 1, 20 and Mediaset Extra), for a total of 1,000 hours of dedicated programming, of which 500 live. There will also be radio and online coverage, as well as a dedicated app.
Although the broadcaster has paid more than €70 million for the rights, it has already broken even, signing advertising contracts worth €80 million, which could reach €90 million by the end of the competition.