Ad recovery revives Mediaset

October brightens prospects

ROME — Mediaset posted a modest increase in net profit, up to Euros 372.3 million ($542 million) for the first nine months of 2007, compared with Euros 371.6 million ($541 million) for the same period a year earlier.

But the top Italian commercial broadcaster, controlled by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, said an advertising uptick, which started in October, makes for a brighter outlook for its year-end results.

October has seen a return of big corporate players, such as telecommunications companies, booking large volumes of spots, a growth Mediaset expects will continue.

The three-channel web said its advertising revenue was down just 0.4% in the first 10 months of the year to Euros 2.33 billion ($ 3.39 billion) after a 3.4% drop in the first nine months.

“We are clearly confident in a further improvement over the next two months. I think we should be able to close the year positively,” said Luigi Colombo, head of Mediaset’s Publitalia ad unit in a conference call.

Mediaset also said on Tuesday that following its purchase of Endemol earlier this year, along with its founder John de Mol and Goldman Sachs, it was working on a new strategy for the giant content provider that would focus on acquisitions.

“We are working on a new industrial plan, a considerable portion of which will involve mergers and acquisitions activity,” CFO Marco Giordani said.

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