MILAN, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Mediaset on Wednesday
posted a six-fold rise in first-half operating profit, topping
pre-pandemic levels, as the broadcaster controlled by the family
of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi remained keen on
Like other traditional broadcasters, Mediaset is facing
stiffer competition in the industry due to the growth of online
giants such as Facebook, Google and streaming
services like Netflix.
Boosted by the economic recovery after last year's pandemic-
driven slump, the company reported a first-half group operating
profit of 198.7 million euros ($234.57 million) compared with
31.7 million euros last year and 4% higher than in 2019.
Mediaset said the positive trend in overall advertising
sales on TV, radio and digital outlets in Italy continued in the
third quarter, with cumulative figures for the first nine months
expected to be 1% higher than 2019 levels.
Italy's top commercial broadcaster sees building up
alliances with peers across the continent as the answer to the
long-standing challenges posed by newcomers.
As part of this strategy, it approved a plan to move its
legal base to the Netherlands, seen as neutral base from which
to pursue expansion plans abroad.
"The traditional media market in Europe is due to
consolidate", Mediaset's chief financial officer Marco Giordani
told analysts during a post-results conference call.
Giordani said Mediaset could play a passive or an active
role in the process, adding that the company would keep pursuing
an expansion strategy to "be as large as possible".
The executive did not provide details on any potential
target but ruled out for the moment any move to consolidate its
listed Spanish business. Mediaset is also a large
minority investor in Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Media.
Mediaset shares were up 1.5% by 0900 GMT, compared with a
0.1% fall in Italy's all-share index.
(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Jon Boyle)