Spanish media group Mediapro-Imagina is claiming a buffer

Spanish media group Mediapro-Imagina is claiming a buffer against the worst of the economic downturn TV soccer rights.

Mediapro was founded in 1994 in Barcelona and nowdays it produces TV programs, films as well as thematic and free to air channels including national private channel laSexta. But two years ago the company also entered the soccer rights arena. So from this season on, it has multi-year contracts with 39 out of 42 Spanish soccer teams of the First and Second division.
These previously were held by Sogecable.Mediapro has most of these rights for the next three years.

The crisis is having an advertising impact on television and the newspapers but our global business doesn't depend on ads but on content generation and services and here we are doing very well. Mediapro also has Formula 1 rights for Spain and many foreign soccer rights.

Taking account of this situation, it reflects the success of Mediapro's strategy when in 2006 it merged with the audiovisual companies Spain's Grupo Arbol and UK's WPP creating Imagina Spain's biggest audiovisual company.
Our revenues will go up 15% this year as minimum,” Roures said. “Last year revenues were €960 million and this year we hope to reach €1,150 million."

At present sports rights account for half Mediapro's business. And with the approval of pay-DTT this summer in Spain the group has found a new opportunity to develop its pay-TV channel Gol TV that already has some 650,000 subscribers but still mainly from the major pay-TV platforms such as Telefónica’s Imagenio or Spain’s largest cable operator Ono.

I'm convinced Gol TV will be able to reach one million subscribers by the end of this soccer season counting all the pay-TV systems.It is precisely in the new pay-DTT business where Gol TV wants to hit the ball. The fact is in Spain from the 15 million existing homes only 3.7 million have pay-TV services while elsewhere, average European penetration reaches 50% according to figures.

The advance of pay-DTT channels would ruin the pay-per-view market for soccer content. Here it is Sogecable's satellite pay-TV operator Digital+ that is the leader.We believe the trend will be that PPV will disappear little by little as pay-TV channels consolidate their business. Because there's no PPV in France or the UK.
There there are only pay-TV channels with different content.

Finally, talking about laSexta, the company is happy with the results of the channel in spite of the economic crisis. The channel is still losing money but both Mediapro its main owner and Mexican media group Televisa which also owns a slice are happy with the broadcaster’s development.

The crisis may put back its development a year or two, but the most important thing for us is that we can still grow.