Advertisers happy with Cuatro-laSexta merger

Iñaki Ferreras

While Spanish broadcasters Sogecable and Mediapro are having serious meetings on a future likely merger, a report from JP Morgan does not rule out their respective television channels Cuatro and laSexta staying as separate entities. The likely merger would mean the creation of a new and stronger broadcaster which would be more attractive for advertisers than Grupo Planeta's Antena 3 and Mediaset's Telecinco according to the report.

The agreement between the companies was signed last Thursday in Madrid in order to end the so-called “soccer war” which has lasted for over two years. The broadcasters have been fighting over rights to Spain's National Soccer League and the King's Soccer Cup. Apart from having reached an agreement on soccer rights, the broadcasters now have a month for the creation of a merged audiovisual company in which both will have shares.

On the other hand the report highlights a likely merger between both channels would have as a consequence another possibility: the creation of new channel with a potential share of 14% which is near what Telecinco and Antena 3 had in 2008 (18% and 16% respectively). But JP Morgan doesn't rule out after the merger both channels could run separately as currently so the new entity would offer "more platforms for the advertisers than Telecinco and Antena 3" says the report.

The report prefers to be cautious while waiting for more specific details although it admits Spain's television market has become "the most competitive one in Europe".