×

Spanish Broadcasters Face Multi-Million Dollar Fines

But the broadcasters' real challenge is one of market perception

MADRID — Stock prices at Mediaset España and Atresmedia, Spain’s two big broadcast networks, fell yesterday afternoon after local press reports that both face fines of up to about €100 million ($115 million) from Spain’s anti-trust authorities regarding abuse of dominant position.

Mediaset España recuperated all of its 1.5% stock value loss by late trading on Friday. Atresmedia registerered a total but hardly dramatic 2.2% drop in share price by Friday mid-afternoon as markets appeared to conclude that the possibility of a huge fine, decimating the free-to-air operators’ profits, was unlikely.

According to Spanish financial newspaper El Economista, Spain’s National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) has presented Mediaset España, majority owned by Italy’s Mediaset, and Atresmedia, in which Germany’s RTL Group has a minority stake, with a statement of objections contending an abuse of dominant position. That appears to be related to TV ad volume discounting, a common practice in Spain, as indeed Europe, for decades.

Atresmedia and Mediaset España now have 15 days to present a defense. After that, the CNMC will serve judgement. According to El Economista, the final fine could come in at around €15 million-€30 million ($17.25 million-$34.5 million), which the TV operators can then appeal.

Whether the networks will end up paying very much at all is uncertain. But the threatened fine will do little to better the market perception of the two broadcast groups. Both are still punching healthy results. Mediaset España’s Ebitda operating profits for the first nine months of last year were €193.7 million ($222.75 million), representing a profit margin of 27.8%  Total net TV advertising in Spain only decreased 1.3% January to September 2018. Mediaset España even managed to broadcast all World Cup soccer matches without incurring much extra annual costs. Atresmedia, which co-originated “Money Heist,” struck a large output deal with Netflix.

Nevertheless, Mediaset España and Atresmedia’s stock prices took a huge hammering in 2018, plunging 40% and 48% respectively.

Analysts seem convinced that the destiny of Europe’s big broadcasters is to take an ever smaller part of an uncertain total adspend. Sexier, higher-growth investments lie elsewhere.

More TV

  • Michael Rooker

    Michael Rooker Joins Showtime Pilot 'The President Is Missing'

    Michael Rooker has been cast as a series regular in the Showtime drama pilot “The President Is Missing.” Rooker joins previously announced lead David Oyelowo and cast members Janet McTeer, Medina Senghore, Paul Adelstein, and Gina Gallego in the pilot, which is based on the novel of the same name by James Patterson and Bill [...]

  • Stella Baker The Republic of Sarah

    CW's 'Republic of Sarah' Pilot Casts Stella Baker in Lead Role

    Newcomer Stella Baker has been cast in the title role in The CW’s “The Republic of Sarah” pilot, Variety In the pilot, faced with the destruction of her town at the hands of a greedy mining company, rebellious high school teacher Sarah Cooper (Baker) utilizes an obscure cartographical loophole to declare independence. Now Sarah must [...]

  • Kelly Campbell - hulu

    Kelly Campbell Named Hulu President

    Hulu’s chief marketing officer Kelly Campbell has been promoted to president of Hulu, a move that comes in the wake of Randy Freer’s recent exit as CEO of the company. Changes have been afoot at Hulu internally, now that the streaming service is now fully under Disney’s operational control. Disney TV Studios’ Dana Walden now [...]

  • The Sleepers

    Berlinale Series Market Sets Spotlight on Central and Eastern Europe

    It boasts one of the fastest-growing TV industries on the planet, but that hasn’t cleared up misconceptions when it comes to Central and Eastern Europe. “I would like to kill some stereotypes about the region,” said Kamila Zlatušková, founder of the Serial Killer TV Festival in Brno, Czech Republic, during a showcase of regional series [...]

  • Pete Davidson

    Pete Davidson Thinks He 'Should Be Done' With 'SNL': 'They Think I'm F---ing Dumb'

    Pete Davidson’s time as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” may be coming to an end, the comedian revealed as he discussed the future of his career in an interview with Charlamagne tha God on Monday. In a candid interview, Davidson was asked by “The Breakfast Club” host where he saw himself in five [...]

  • Miriam Haley and Tarale Wulff

    Women Who Testified in Harvey Weinstein Trial Slam His Lawyers for 'Victim Blaming' 

    Six women testified during the Harvey Weinstein rape trial, and now that the former movie mogul was found guilty of two felony charges, those women are speaking out with newfound freedom. Miriam Haley, who was assaulted by Weinstein in 2006, resulting in him being convicted of a criminal sex act (which carries a maximum sentence [...]

  • Mekai Curtis Curtis Jackson

    'Power' Prequel Series 'Raising Kanan' Casts Mekai Curtis in Lead Role

    “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” at Starz has found its lead actor. Mekai Curtis has been cast as a young Kanan Stark, the character played in the mothership series by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. He joins previously announced cast member Patina Miller, who will play Kanan’s mother. The young Kanan is described as smart, driven [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content