Signs of possible tension between Mediaset and ProSiebenSat.1 are emerging, according to German press reports following an interview given by the Italian broadcaster’s chief executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi to newspaper La Stampa.
Berlusconi told the Italian newspaper that MediaForEurope, the new holding company set up in the Netherlands to control both Mediaset and Spanish broadcaster Mediaset España would be able to realise synergies of €100-110 million a year, but that adding French or German assets would increase the figure enormously.
Berlusconi said that investment in growth would be required to take on international technology giants now laying claim to the European media space.
Mediaset acquired a 9.6% stake in ProSiebenSat.1 in May in a surprise move, and Berlusconi has made little secret of the fact that he sees this as a strategic move. He told La Stampa that the pair were “talking” but that deepening the relationship would be a “long process”.
Contacted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, however, ProSiebenSat.1 referred to statements made earlier by CEO Max Conze that the German company was focusing on specific one-off forms of cooperation with Mediaset and other European TV groups, and on its JV with Discovery, SVOD service Joyn.
ProSiebenSat.1’s stock price has declined over the last few years, making it vulnerable to further share purchases.
ProSiebenSat.1-Discovery’s new JV Joyn suffered a possible setback in July when Discovery struck a pact with DAZN to bring 45 Bundesliga football matches to the sports streaming service, depriving the new service of the possibility of adding these to its content line-up. Discovery also announced that it would distribute Eurosport 1 HD and Eurosport 2 HD on DAZN.
Mediaset meanwhile is keen to diversify its business from Italy and Spain, where TV advertising has suffered a sharp decline this year.
Nielsen’s latest data for Italy showed that investment in advertising declined by 5.7% during the first half of this year, prompting Stefano Sala, managing director of Mediaset’s advertising arm Publitalia to comment that the company was performing well, growing its share by 0.7% on a “like-for-like” basis, excluding the impact of the loss of pay TV football rights and the absence of Champions League football on the company’s free channels.