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Mediaset struggles in Italy, Spain picks up

Mediaset’s Spanish unit lifted the media giant’s financials for 2014 against the background of continued challenges in the Italian market, according to Mediaset’s preliminary results.

Mediaset posted net revenues of €3.41 billion (US$3.45 billion) for the full year, marginally down on the 2013 figure. Revenues in Italy fell from €2.59 billion to €2.48 billion, while sales in Spain rose from €826.8 million to €932.1 million.

Economic recovery in Spain lifted advertising revenues in that market from €802.2 million to €889.2 million, while Italian ad sales dropped from €2.06 billion to €1.98 billion.

Mediaset turned in a profit of €23.7 million, up from €8.9 million in 2013. Net debt fell from €1.459 billion to €861.3 million thanks to cost cutting measures.

Mediaset Premium, the pay TV spin-off unit created at the start of December, in which Telefónica owns a 11.11% share, turned in revenues of €8.7 million in its first month of operation.

Mediaset said it expected the outlook in Italy to continue to be unpredictable this year, while Spain is expected to contribute a growing share of revenue and profit.

Separately, the Spanish competition regulator, the CNMC, has censured Mediaset for failing to stand by commitments made to secure the merger of channels Telecinco and Cuatro, relating to the packaging of advertising deals. Mediaset has repeatedly been found to be in breach of the conditions set to secure the 2010 merger of the two services.