Market Insight

Mediaset to shut down pay DTT service at the end of May

May 01, 2019

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Mediaset is to end distribution of its Premium subscription service on digital terrestrial TV (DTT) at the end of this month. The service, which now consists of TV series and movies, will available on demand via Infinity, the group's online platform.

Currently, Infinity has 400,000 subscribers and offers two subscription tiers: a basic one giving access to the platform’s library (€7.99, $8.89 per month) and premium (€13.99 per month) which includes a subscription to sports service DAZN, thanks to an agreement between the UK company and Mediaset in July 2018.

Mediaset still has not officially confirmed this decision, but wrote to customers on 30 April giving them the possibility to break their ongoing contract without paying a cancellation fee.

Our analysis

Mediaset’s decision to close its pay TV subsidiary ends a long-running crisis that began in 2016, when Vivendi cancelled an agreement to acquire Mediaset Premium. After that failed agreement, Mediaset has dismantled the segments that made Premium’s fortune in the past (notably the TV rights for Serie A and Champions League), a clear hint of its intention of leaving the pay TV segment. An exclusive film and TV deal with Warner Bros runs until 2020, but another key supply agreement with NBC Universal ran out last year.

At its peak in 2015, Mediaset Premium had 2.8 million subscribers, when it retained the rights to broadcast Serie A and UEFA Champions and Europa League. Mediaset Premium was arguably at that time the most successful DTT pay TV operator in Europe.

More recently, Sky had agreed to acquire Mediaset’s pay TV platform in September 2018, but AGCM, the Italian competition authority,­ blocked the deal. The rationale behind the watchdog’s decision was that Sky would have abused a dominant position in the relevant market of pay TV services, to the detriment to consumers.

The pay TV market in Italy remains now (almost) entirely in Sky’s hands; according to Channels and Programming Intelligence, Sky accounted for 79% of the revenues generated in the entire segment of subscription to traditional linear channels. However, the online segment of the market is considerably more diverse, with DAZN now the second leading player in the pay TV sports market after Sky. IHS Markit estimates the platform has 225,000 primary subscribers at the end of last year. Netflix (with 1.6 million) and Amazon (685,000) have also established themselves in Italy.

Mediaset Perform Sky Italia
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