Earnings drop despite rise in ad revs by 3%

Italy’s top commercial broadcaster, Mediaset, will post a record net profit of more than E600 million ($716 million) for fiscal 2005, exceeding analysts’ forecasts and vastly outperforming its $597 million 2004 earnings.

The three-channel web controlled by media-tycoon prime minister Silvio Berlusconi saw ad revenues rise by 3%, despite an overall ratings drop.

Mediaset is cashing in on soccer rights deals and a recently launched digital terrestrial premium pay-per-view service, per Piersilvio Berlusconi, the group’s deputy chairman.

Mediaset’s unique prepaid card gives viewers access to single soccer matches and movies. Piersilvio Berlusconi said Mediaset expects to launch a mobile TV service with Telecom Italia before the summer.

As for ratings: While Mediaset’s daytime count dropped, its flagship Canale 5 led in primetime.

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