Spanish TV Awaits New Players in Ad Market

03 November 2004

Spain's TV advertising cake may be cut into meaner slices as two new networks jostle for a place at the highly lucrative table.

Lobbying hard for a government licence is media giant Prisa, which owns daily newspaper El País, commercial radio broadcaster Cadena Ser, and a 23% stake in listed pay-TV company Sogecable. Another contender is Vocento, a privately owned group of regional newspapers.

If successful, the duo will grab a share of Spain's €6 billion ($7.6bn, £4.1bn) advertising market, currently the preserve of profitable free-to-air TV networks Telecinco and Antena 3, and the debt-ridden state broadcaster RTVE, which loses €700 million a year.

Predicts investment banker Citigroup Smith Barney: "Existing players risk losing some 10-15 percentage points of market share, or about €90m-€140m in lost advertising."

However, Vocento chief executive Jose Maria Bergareche is cautious in his estimates of advertising revenues and says the government must first deal with the problem of financing RTVE: "Then we will have some idea of what kind of advertising market will be left for private broadcasters."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff