Mediaset 1H net profits down 22%

Italian private broadcaster Mediaset reported a profit of E332.5 million for the first half of 2006, down 22.1 per cent on the same period last year, due to a drop in government-sponsored advertising and the World Cup that guaranteed increased profits to rival Rai.

Revenue was up slightly from E1.471 billion a year ago to E1.472 billion. Mediaset also saw a dramatic increase in operating costs, as it chased new advertisers and paid to develop and license new programming. TV advertising revenue reached E1.576 billion, down 1.4 per cent on the first half of 2005. Mediaset’s TV networks confirmed the leadership position among viewers aged 15-64, that represent 70 per cent of the Italian population and 80 per cent of advertising investments.

On the digital terrestrial front, during the first half 2006 Mediaset sold around 511,000 new rechargeable pre-paid cards for its Mediaset Premium pay-per-view service and around 1,400,000 recharges.