Mediaset likes pay-TV

Italy’s Mediaset has promised pay-TV revenues of €400 million in 2008 and said it had reached 2.7 million active smartcards.

Unveiling a new pay-TV package, Premium Fantasy, for children and younger viewers on DTT, Mediaset’s vice-president Piersilvio Berlusconi said he saw no profit risk in Italy for 2008 but that the company’s Spanish subsidiary Telecinco was not so secure. Break even for the DTT pay-TV offering is still forecast for 2010.

“If there are any [risks to profitbaility] they are for Telecinco and not for the Italian business,” Berlusconi said.

Mediaset last week said its profit for the first nine months of 2008 fell 4.4% to €355.8 million. But Berlusconi said the full year result would be similar to 2007’s, a change from a previously-forecast profit rise.

The new pay-TV package will join Premium Gallery on the DTT platform. Premium Gallery has about 1.5 million subscribers from the overall 2.7 million, with the remainder watching soccer through the Calcio service.

Premium Fantasy includes Cartoon Network, Mediaset’s new Hiro channel and two Disney services – Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney. Disney Channel is already part of Premium Gallery. Premium Fantasy will launch on December 8 and will cost €8 a month or €24 as part of the entire Mediaset pay-TV bundle.