Sky Italia and Mediaset “cannot both survive”

The Italian pay-TV market cannot sustain the growth of both Mediaset and Sky Italia, according to investment bank Morgan Stanley.

Analysts have cast doubt over the size of the market. “Can two pay TV operators survive? Over the past 20 years, we have witnessed across Europe that two pay TV competitors operating on the same platform cannot both survive. Eventually one has tended to merge with or push out the other,” it noted.

This comes as Mediaset reported solid financial results for the first half of 2009, albeit with advertising revenues falling further by 12%. Subscriber growth reached 23% and ARPU grew by 12% and Morgan Stanley noted that the company paid a respectable amount – €435m – for the digital terrestrial and IPTV rights to show two seasons of Italian soccer.