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Atresmedia gains in pay TV but Mediaset wins overall in Spain

Spanish commercial broadcaster Atresmedia saw its pay TV base double to 235,000 in the first quarter, while  Atresplayer, the Group’s on-line video platform, had 3.3 million unique visitors, according to ComScore, putting it ahead of rival Mediaset España on both counts.

Atresmedia Premium grew its base from 124,000 at the end of December. Mediaset España’s Mitele Plus service meanwhile managed more modest growth, from approximately the same base to 133,000 over the same period.

Atresmedia did less well in terms of its overall performance, with TV revenue dropping by 12.5% to €210 million and TV EBITDA down by 14.6% to €35.8 million.

Mediaset España’s net revenue, on the other hand, was up by 1.7% to €230 million and the company posted a net profit of €49 million.

Commenting on Mediaset’s results, analysts at investment bank Berenberg said that the company’s top-line growth against the background of the coronavirus crisis was “nothing short of remarkable”. However, they noted that Mediaset was boosted by non-advertising sales in the shape of content sales to Amazon Prime, for example, which are inherently unpredictable.

Mediaset nevertheless outperformed a market that was down by 12% due to the crisis, with the group’s advertising sales down 10%.

Berenberg also reported that Mediaset’s management is “continuing to work hard” on the MediaForEurope project that would see it merge with Mediaset Italy under the aegis of a Dutch-registered holding company, despite a Madrid court freezing the plan on a complaint by Mediaset shareholder Vivendi.

Berenberg said that management is hopeful that “once the Spanish courts are reopened and it is possible to hold a physical meeting with the judge, the courts will give a green light to the deal”.