Everything indicates that the golden years of Spanish television are a thing of the past. The two economic crises that the country has experienced in the last 10 years, added to the rise of streaming channels, have left the main audiovisual groups in a very delicate situation. So much so that the forecasts suggest that they will not regain the benefits obtained before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Atresmedia and Mediaset closed 2019 with net earnings of 329 million euros (118 million for the owner of Antena 3 and 211 million for the owner of Telecinco), 14% more than in 2018. According to the forecasts of the consensus of analysts who follow them in FactSet will not see these gains again, at least for the next five years. If all goes according to plan, almost 296 million euros will be pocketed in 2021, 10% less than the figures registered in 2019, before the pandemic. The positive part is that it will be almost 42% more than in 2020.
It will be in 2022 when they are closest to pre-Covid levels . Between the two, they will earn more than 318 million, only 2.3% below the profit of 2019. Atresmedia’s profits will approach 112 million, 4.8% less than the year before the pandemic, while in Mediaset they will be 206 million, 2.3% less.
In the longer term, the forecasts are not good, in fact, profits will begin to decline from 2023 . Atresmedia will earn about 113 million, just 1% more than in 2022, while the fall in profits will already begin to be noticed in Mediaset, which will see its profit cut by 1.1%.
The bad timing of traditional TVs is not only due to the crisis that has hit the advertising sector in recent months, the rise of streaming channels is not working in their favor either. Netflix, beyond being harmed by the pandemic, has been strengthened. The creator of Stranger Things has registered the best benefits in its history in the last year, and not only that, it has also managed to gain subscribers at record speed, although there are those who point out that this growth is unsustainable over time.
In order to cope with the streaming giant, both Mediaset and Atresmedia have launched their own online transmission channels in recent years, and with considerable success, although with many differences between the two. Atresplayer Premium leads the market with 437,000 subscribers between January and June, according to the latest earnings report published by the company, which represents an increase of 73% compared to the same period of the previous year.
While MiTele Plus registers a monthly average between January and June of 189,000 subscribers, 33% more than in comparison to the 142,000 in 2020. Despite the fact that both experience notable growth as a result of the pandemic, they are still a long way from reaching Netflix, which in 2020 registered close to four million subscribers in Spain alone.
The preference for Netflix goes beyond its platform. Since its arrival in Spain in October 2015, its shares have not stopped rising on the stock market until they are trading practically at all-time highs, quite the opposite of what happens with Atresmedia and Mediaset (see graph). The first has fallen by around 67% since then, while the second has fallen by 46%.
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