Italy’s broadcasting sector saw a 10.7 per cent annual drop in revenues during the first half of 2020, to €3.9 billion, largely brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a report by Mediobanca, radio suffered the most (-29 per cent), followed by free-to-air TV (-14 per cent), while pay-TV revenue was relatively stable (-0.8 per cent).
The main cause is linked to the collapse in advertising revenues (-24.4 per cent), followed by the TV licence fee (-5.7 per cent).
However, there were positive signs as ad sales recovered in November 2020 (+3.5 per cent), although the full-year result should still be negative (-12 per cent).
Significantly, pay-TV subscriptions are up 3.1 per cent on H1 2019, thanks mainly to the significant increase in revenues from streaming content.
All the major broadcasters saw ad revenue growth in November – La7 (+8.8 per cent), Rai (+ 7.3 per cent), Mediaset (+5.1 per cent), and Discovery Italia (+5 per cent) – with the only exception being Sky Italia (-8 per cent).
The Mediobanca report confirms the growth of OTT and other digital services (+8.4 per cent), as well as the dominant position of Rai and Mediaset in the FTA TV segment, respectively with 35.2 per cent and 32.1 per cent average daily share, although the distance between the two continues to decrease (from 4.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent)
However, the audience of general entertainment channels is dropping, with a continuous redistribution towards thematic channels, where Mediaset stands out with a 1.5 per cent growth in 2020.