MILAN — Italian broadcasting, still dominated by pubcaster RAI and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, posted a major increase in ad revenues, despite losing more than a million TV viewers.
In the first four months of 1997, TV ad revenues increased by 10% to 2.07 trillion lire ($1.2 billion) from 1.88 trillion lire ($1.1 billion) in the same period one year earlier, the latest Nielsen report said.
“Advertisers started to invest again, despite consumer spending being weak in Italy. We expect that the second half of the year will not be so bright, but the overall 1997 results should be solid anyway,” Nielsen’s media division manager Marcello Arosio said.
Contrary to what happens in most European countries, television in Italy took the lion’s share of the national ad pie, with 63% of total ad expenditure, up from 61% one year earlier. The main gainer was Mediaset. To its three national channels went $761 million, or 62% of all TV ad revenues, while pubcaster RAI’s three channels posted $432 million in revenues or 35% of the total TV pie.
Vittorio Cecchi Gori’s TeleMontecarlo posted $29 million (up 10% from 1996), and 2.4% of the TV pie. Separately, an Auditel report unveiled that in the first half of the year the number of TV viewers decreased on average by 1.13 million a day in primetime, and 316,000 during daytime. One of the reasons for the decrease was the exceptionally fine weather of the past six months in Italy, media analysts said.
The big loser of viewers was Mediaset, which lost an average of more than 1.3 million viewers in primetime. However, its three channels still have the largest national share among teenagers and 15- to 44-year-olds, the most important audience for advertisers.