Mediaset plans overhaul, further Beta integration

Italo group making changes in TV management

MILAN — Italy’s largest commercial media group, Mediaset, will soon unveil a major reorganization of its TV business, including some crucial changes in its management and a further integration with Germany’s Beta in the TV-film production activities, sources said. Earlier this year, Mediaset and Beta, controlled by the Kirch Group, launched a Euro alliance called Eureka, spanning production, advertising and broadcasting.

“New important developments are in the air regarding our alliance with Kirch. Starting from the next Mipcom market in early October, we will move together with Beta for TV and film production and co-production. Our booths will be one next to the other and we’ll host the traditional Beta brunch together,” Mediatrade CEO Roberto Pace told Daily Variety. Mediatrade is an umbrella structure launched last year to unify all Mediaset TV acquisitions, sales and production activities, with a budget of about 1 trillion lire ($560 million) a year.

Cannes debut

“At Cannes, we will announce the final name and logo of our joint venture, which will enter the operating phase after the final greenlight of the European Commission, which we expect to be announced by the end of this month,” Pace said.

Pace confirmed industry rumors regarding the impending appointment of long-term on-air personality Maurizio Costanzo as president of Mediatrade. “With the appointment of Costanzo, nothing will change for Mediatrade. I’ll remain CEO of the company and we will keep on working as usual”, he said.

According to many in the industry and in the group, Mediaset’s decision to offer Costanzo the prexy position at Mediatrade was caused by his disappointing performance as director of Mediaset’s flagship channel Canale 5, a position that Costanzo took up in 1997, replacing Gianpaolo Sodano.

Talkshow vet

Costanzo, 61, is considered a solid journalist and TV producer, with both press and TV experience. For 12 years, he has hosted and produced a popular five-day-a-week evening talkshow on Canale 5 (“The Maurizio Costanzo Show”), and is involved in several TV and press projects and events. “He is too busy to direct Canale 5, he will be replaced soon by a most operative personality who will focus totally on the channels,” a Mediaset source said.

Management changes very soon will include the resignations of Mediaset general director Mario Brugola, sources said.