Italian media coin crashes, down €1.6bn

Combined revenues of Italy’s media companies, including broadcasters and online players, fell by €1.6 billion (US$2.1 billion) last year, the territory’s media regulator reports.

The year-on-year decline in 2012 meant total media companies’ revenue was €15.7 billion, according to AgCom’s annual report.

This comes as Italy wrestles with political and economic turmoil following a series of national crises.

The AgCom report revealed 21st Century Fox-backed pay TV operator Sky Italia was the territory’s leading broadcaster by revenue with €2.6 billion, which was still down 1.4% on the previous year. Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset crashed 13.2% YOY and stood at €2.5 billion.

Among free-TV broadcasters, state-controlled Rai, which is struggling to keep a multi-billion Euro debt under control and which may be sold privately in order to raise national funds, was top with a 48.3% share of the market. Mediaset came second with 38.9%.

Total Italian telecommunications, media and postal services revenue was €61.4 billion, down from €65.8 billion in 2011. This was attributed to the shrinking economy and declines in advertising revenues.

Commenting on the overall declines, Sky Italia CEO Andrea Zappia said: “We operate in a single entertainment market in which all the operators are competing for the various resources available on all platforms – subscriptions, advertising, content and most of all the viewer’s attention. The industry is going through pivotal changes, with the continuous arrival of new entrants, therefore we need to have the courage to look at it from a long-term perspective. We need new rules, the same rules for all, based on a technologically neutral approach that puts the client at the centre.”

On Sky’s own performance, Zappia added: “Sky was rewarded by subscribers for its investments in both technology and content despite the difficult economic situation; investments that support the Italian audio-visual industry along with the country’s talent and creativity.”