Advanced Television

MFE-MediaForEurope sees increased profits

March 19, 2024

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Italy-based broadcasting group MFE-MediaForEurope is expected to close 2023 with profit exceeding €217 million, the figure recorded in the previous year. This figure does not include the effects of adding ProsiebenSat.1 to their finances.

Advertising revenues in Spain and Italy are expected to grow by 5 per cent compared to the same period in 2023.

The figures were disclosed by CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi, in an interview for Italian daily Corriere della Sera. He believes that traditional TV can still thrive “if it’s kept modern and engaging” and with the “right mix of experience and investments”.

Berlusconi highlighted MFE’s contrasting approach to recent layoffs in the content industry, by actively hiring, with a focus on young talent (under 30) and gender diversity (50 per cent women). The group has already brought on 250 new hires in the past year and plan to add 1,000 more in the next three years.

Instead of cost-cutting measures, Berlusconi emphasises investing in development and taking a courageous approach while the media sector struggles.

Commenting on the situation at ProsiebenSat (30 per cent owned by MFE), which recently lost €134 million and laid off 500 employees, MFE’s CEO believes the German media group needs a turnaround and should refocus on its core TV business. He argues that ProsiebenSat’s current struggles aren’t the fault of the current management team, but rather the result of past decisions. According to him, it is necessary to separate ProsiebenSat’s dating and e-commerce activities to make each business stronger.

Berlusconi expressed concern about the advantage OTT companies like Google and Amazon have in Europe, paying lower taxes (around 5 per cent) compared to traditional media companies (like MFE) which pay 27 per cent. He argues that OTT companies benefit from Europe’s infrastructure but don’t contribute as much financially because they employ fewer people there. This, he says, hurts European media companies by taking away advertising revenue.

However, despite this challenge, Berlusconi finds some comfort in the fact that traditional TV advertising has held up better than other media in recent years

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