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Telecom Italia sees TV growth, plans investment in multimedia

Telecom ItaliaTelecom Italia increased its TV customer base by 107% last year, with a total of 530,000 TV customers at the end of the year. The figure was boosted by strong uptake of its TIM Sky offering in December, with an additional 18,000 customers taking this package. Total TIM Sky customer stood at 42,000 at the end of the year.

In the final quarter, 130,000 of Telecom Italia’s convergent customers opted for a TV service, helping boost the numbers. Customers for new premium offerings TIM Sky and TIM Vision Mobile together totalled 155,000 at the year-end, while TIM Vision fixed TV customers numbered 375,000.

Telecom Italia has said convergence and multimedia entertainment will be at the heart of its strategic plan over the next few years, with a target of 1.5 million converged customers by 2018, and a strengthening of the company’s position in delivering video, music and gaming entertainment services.

Telecom Italia has committed to invest around €12 billion in Italy, including €6.7 billion in innovation, with a plan to cover 84% of the population of the country with fibre by 2018. The company has a target of reducing fixed line customer losses to zero by 2018.

Separately, French media giant Vivendi, which holds a 20% voting stake in Telecom Italia, this week strengthened its influence in the Italian operator’s management, securing the appointment of Vivendi nominee Felicité Herzog to the company’s control and risk committee and the appointment of Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine and chief operating officer Stéphane Roussel to its nomination and remuneration committee.

Vivendi secured the appointment of four additional representatives – Herzog, De Puyfontaine, Roussel and chief financial officer Hervé Philippe – on the Telecom Italia board at the end of last year and saw off a challenge to reduce its voting stake via a threatened conversion of so-called ‘savings shares’ into ordinary shares.

Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré is reportedly keen to extend his influence over the group, including pressing for the sale of Telecom Italia’s operation in Brazil, where it faces considerable macroeconomic challenges. Vivendi initially secured a 14.8% stake in Telecom Italia last summer after the sale of its own Brazilian operation, GVT, to Telefónica.

Telecom Italia’s overall revenues for 2015 amounted to €19.7 billion, down 4.6%, including €15 billion from the Italian market, down 2.3%. Revenues from its Brazilian unit amounted to €4.6 billion, down 12.1%. Reported EBITDA was €7 billion, down 20.3%.