×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Hulu Announces 'Castle Rock' Season 2

    Hulu Announces 'Castle Rock' Season 2 Cast, Led by Lizzy Caplan

    Hulu has announced the star-studded cast for season two of “Castle Rock,” which will be led by Tim Robbins, “Masters of Sex” actress Lizzy Caplan, and “Eighth Grade” standout Elsie Fisher. Season two will center around Annie Wilkes, Stephen King’s nurse from hell, who gets waylaid in the town of Castle Rock as a feud between [...]

  • Mindy Kaling

    Mindy Kaling, Netflix Team for Comedy Series Based on Her Childhood

    Netflix has ordered a coming-of-age comedy series inspired by the life of Mindy Kaling, Variety has learned. The untitled series, which has received a 10-episode order, was co-created by Kaling and Lang Fisher, with the latter also set to serve as showrunner. The series will follow the complicated life of a modern-day first generation Indian American [...]

  • How I Met Your Mother spinoff

    TV Writers Earn More on Packaged Shows (Study)

    Amid Hollywood’s bitter agency-versus-writers battle, United Talent Agency has issued a robust defense of its television packaging activity. In a three-season study released Wednesday, UTA asserted that its TV writer clients earn $3,374 more per episode on shows the agency packages than on those it does not package. The study also found that writers saved [...]

  • Days of Our Lives General Hospital

    2019 Daytime Emmy Nominees Announced

    “Days of our Lives,” “General Hospital” and “The Young and the Restless” lead the list of shows with the most Daytime Emmy nominations in 2019. “Days of our Lives” has received the largest total number of nominations across series in all categories, including Creative Arts, this year with 27 noms. It has earned top nominations [...]

  • Gavin Purcell

    Gavin Purcell Signs Overall Deal at Universal Television

    Writer and producer Gavin Purcell has signed an overall deal at Universal Television for both scripted and unscripted programming. The deal marks a homecoming of sorts for Purcell, who previously worked as a producer and writer on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” helping the show win the Emmy in 2015 for social TV experience [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Stock Takes Hit Amid DirecTV Battle

    Viacom shares have taken a hit in trading Wednesday, a day after the company went public with its brewing battle over a new carriage agreement with AT&T’s DirecTV. Viacom shares were down more than 5% by midday, dropping to $26.05. On Tuesday afternoon, Viacom began warning viewers that its channels may go dark as of [...]

  • Ava DuVernay Sets Anthology Series 'Cherish

    Ava DuVernay Sets Romance Anthology Series 'Cherish the Day' at OWN (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has given out a straight-to-series order for an anthology that hails from Ava DuVernay, Variety has learned exclusively. The series is titled “Cherish the Day.” Each season, the anthology series chronicles the romance of one couple, with each episode spanning a single day. The season-long narrative will unfold to reveal [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content