Drama is a better weapon than soccer in battle for auds

MADRID — Spain’s World Cup TV battle had one clear winner: terrestrial broadcaster Telecinco, which topped June ratings without airing a single soccer match.

In terms of putting their brand about — rather than straight commercial revenues — new broadcasters Cuatro and La Sexta, which shared free-to-air broadcasts, also had good runs.

Telecinco averaged a 21.4% market share in June, 3.2% above nearest rival Antena 3 (18.2%), and just one percentage point below its May market share of 22.4%.

Pubcaster RTVE’s TVE-1 took 17.2%; Cuatro, which simulcast Spain games with La Sexta, averaged 7.5%.

La Sexta, which launched late March, upped its share from 0.6% in May to 6.1% in June.

“Telecinco’s target is more women-skewed and it doesn’t show much sport except for Formula 1. So it was less affected by the World Cup than Antena 3, which has more of a soccer-loving family demo,” said Glen Spencer Chapman at Ibersecurities.

The performance of Telecinco, which is controlled by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, underscored its formidable primetime fiction fundamentals.

Telecinco’s top-perfing skeins were led by E.R. skein “Hospital Central,” (29.7% average share), “CSI: Las Vegas” (23.9%), sitcom “Aida” (26.5%) and comic sketch skein “Camera Cafe” (21.8%).

Most of these skeins finish their seasons early July. But they will form the backbone of Telecinco skedding in the fall.

The market has taken note. Telecinco’s stock rose 5.7% to Euros 19.32 ($24.7) over Friday and Monday boosted by its June performance, and recognition that its stock, which had dropped 10% this year, was probably undervalued.

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