MIPTV 2013: private TV stations buck recession

Editor | 10-04-2013
The European independent TV sector has provided a rare beacon of light in the general gloom of the continent's economy, according to data from the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO).
Indeed the data found that despite a 0.3% fall in the EU's GDP in 2012, the 20 leading private TV companies in Europe achieved overall organic growth of 1.9%.
The EAO analysed a sample list of companies composed of 11 groups mainly functioning as pay-TV operators - such as cable and satellite firms like Sky, Vivendi, Prisa and Zon Multimedia - and nine groups mainly financed by advertising. In looking at the former, the survey analysed the distribution of TV packages and provision of their own TV premium channels and on-demand audiovisual services such as VOD and/or catch-up TV.
The survey revealed that pay-TV performs better than advert-financed TV, with pay-TV groups showing an overall organic growth rate of 3.7% compared with a 1% decline in groups mainly financed by advertising. This said, the governmental body indicates that even in a period of recession, European households have not only generally maintained their subscriptions, but have also demonstrated interest for new services including access everywhere on any device; transactional VOD services.
EAO noted that groups mainly financed by advertising operate free-to-air generalist channels but they have also diversified into the provision of pay or free thematic channels. They also provide on-demand audiovisual services - the aforementioned VOD and/or catch-up - and were found to be generally also involved in what were described as "sizeable" production activities.
Those mainly financed by advertising showed contrasting results. The RTL Group and Prosiebensat.1 Media AG achieved respective growth of 4% and 7.7%. This said, EAO was mainly due to the success of diversification activities such as thematic channels, on-demand audiovisual services, production and sales of programmes in Europe as well as on the American market.
By stark contrast, a severe decrease of the TV advertising market in Italy, Spain and Eastern Europe has affected the revenues of Mediaset (-12.5%), Antena 3 (-7.9%), CME (-10.7%) and TVN (-7.8).