Telecom Italia Media: Board approves Q1 report

05/07/2007 - 00:00 PM

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This press release contains alternative performance indicators not contemplated under IFRS accounting standards (EBITDA and Net Financial Borrowings). These terms are defined in an enclosure.

Telecom Italia Media: Board approves Q1 report

Telecom Italia Media has begun its new mission as the Telecom Italia Group’s “Content Competence Center” with exclusive America’s Cup 2007 coverage on cross-Group platforms (La7, La7.it, La7 Cartapiù, Alice, Rosso Alice, Alice Home TV and TIM), with an average audience share of 6.1% on La7 (rising to 8%) and more than 17 million overall viewers

REVENUES: UP 31.5 % TO 57.6 MILLION EUROS (43.8 MILLION EUROS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2006), BOOSTED STRONGLY BY NEW PLATFORMS REVENUES (UP FROM 22% TO 31%)

LA7 FREE-TO-AIR: SHARP RISE IN ADVERTISING REVENUES (UP 15.8%), BUCKING THE OVERALL TREND IN ITALY. NEW GROWTH RECORD OF OVER 25% SET IN MARCH

MTV FREE-TO-AIR: DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING REVENUES UP 10.2% AND 11.1% RESPECTIVELY

DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL: REVENUES MORE THAN DOUBLE (UP 132.1%) TO 12.3 MILLION EUROS

MULTIMEDIA: ADVERTISING REVENUES UP 69.2%

EBITDA: -11.0 MILLION EUROS, A 60.7% IMPROVEMENT COMPARED WITH THE Q1 2006 FIGURE OF -28.0 MILLION EUROS, NOW POSITIVE FOR MULTIMEDIA AND PAY-PER-VIEW

EBIT: -26.2 MILLION EUROS, A 36.1% IMPROVEMENT COMPARED WITH THE Q1 2006 FIGURE OF -41.0 MILLION EUROS, DESPITE DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL AMORTIZATION AND DEPRECIATION

NET RESULT: -19.3 MILLION EUROS (-26.3 MILLION EUROS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2006)
NET FINANCIAL DEBT: 190.6 MILLION EUROS, UP 62.4 MILLION EUROS COMPARED WITH DECEMBER 31, 2006,  MAINLY DUE TO  INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENTS AND OPERATIONAL CASH FLOW

Milan, May 7 2007 – At today’s meeting, the Telecom Italia Media Board of Directors, chaired by Enrico Parazzini, examined and adopted the Q1 Report for 2007.

Consolidated revenues for the quarter were up 31.5% to 57.6 million euros (from 43.8 million euros for the first quarter of 2006), driven by sharply higher domestic advertising revenues and by strong growth in digital terrestrial platform revenues. Advertising revenues bucked the Italian advertising market trend (a 5.9% contraction during the first two months of 2007, according to Nielsen), confirming the success of the content-centric programming strategy adopted by broadcasters La7 and MTV Italia.

EBITDA of -11.0 million euros was a 60.7% improvement on the first quarter of 2006 (when the figure was -28.0 million euros). This result may be ascribed to improved results from analog free-to-air generated by advertising revenue growth, in addition to a significant recovery in digital terrestrial TV profitability, driven by excellent pay-per-view performance and free-to-air digital channel cost rationalization.

EBIT was up 36.1% to -26.2 million euros (-41.0 million euros for the first quarter of 2006). Improved profitability from operations was partially offset by 2.2 million euros in  higher amortization and depreciation regarding Q1 digital network infrastructure investments. Amortization and depreciation had a 15.2 million euro impact on operating income: 6.8 million euros was associated with DTT investments for which expected returns have, as previously stated, been further delayed following another postponement of Italy’s analogue-to-digital switchover.

The net result of -19.3 million euros, compared with -26.3 million euros for the first quarter of 2006, benefited from higher profitability from operations, and was partially offset by net financial charges.
Industrial investments of 30.5 million euros in the first quarter of 2007 compared with 45.4 million euros for the same period in 2006.

Net financial debt at March 31, 2007 amounted to 190.6 million euros, compared with 128.2 million euros at December 31, 2006. The 62.4 million euro rise may be ascribed to industrial investments, particularly TV rights acquisitions and digital terrestrial television expansion, in addition to operational management requirements for the quarter (operational cash flow of 31.0 million euros).

Results Breakdown by Business Sector

Free-to-Air Television

Free-to-air earnings for the first quarter of 2007 were particularly impressive: revenues rose 17.7% to 38.5 million euros, (32.7 million euros in 2006) and significant improvements were posted in EBITDA (a 55.9% improvement to -4.1 million euros) and EBIT (a 24.8% improvement to -12.1 million euros).

Higher turnover may be ascribed in particular to 13.9% growth in domestic advertising revenue, which as already stated sharply reversed the overall market trend. Specifically:

La7 revenues rose by 21.8% to 25.7 million euros, compared with 21.1 million euros for the first quarter of 2006. The figure was boosted by a 15.8% rise in overall advertising revenues (up by more than 25% in March alone). This positive result boosted profitability and had a positive impact on EBITDA (up 36.1%, +3.0 million euros) and EBIT (up 14.4%, +2.0 million euros).

In the first quarter of 2007, La7 consolidated its average daily share of 3% at a time when overall viewing figures suffered a significant drop (4.6% lower, with a 24-hour average audience that dropped below 10 million). During Q1, La7 built on the values the broadcaster implemented during the autumn season to attract daily audiences of 13.1 million people, as in 2006. In April, La7 reached an average audience of 6.1% (rising to 8%) for its coverage of the 32nd America’s Cup, peaking at 12% and attracting 17 million viewers in total.

Sailing is the latest in a long line of successes, after Six Nations Rugby and the Superbike championship (both of which scored better than a 5% share, with peak figures of up to 17% for the Rugby, sharply better than in 2006), for overall viewing figures of 15 and 13 million respectively. La7 has leveraged so-called “minor sports” into highly popular mass entertainment.

Morning news-related programming is attracting an increasingly large viewership. OMNIBUS and OMNIBUS W.E. have achieved a significant 5.1% increase (average share 4.4%), while the La7 noon news bulletin average share is up 20.5% to 2.6%.

MTV’s revenues posted a 10.8% rise to 14.4 million euros compared with Q1 in 2006 (13.0 million euros). In the first quarter of 2007, MTV consolidated its position with higher domestic (+10.2%) and international (+11.1%) advertising revenues, generating around a 2.0 million euro improvement in EBITDA and EBIT.

MTV Italia is celebrating ten years as the must-see channel for youth viewers in Italy.Now ten years young, this channel has revolutionized Italy’s TV market. Boosted by the excellent results it has achieved, MTV Italia is taking the next step by focusing on the key factors for success that have always set it apart: a direct, empathetic relationship with its audience strong enough to fill major venues for ad hoc events, and a keenness to embrace technological advances and adopt modern media over all available platforms.

Multimedia

In the first quarter of 2007, multimedia operations generated revenues of 5.1 million euros, up 27.5% on the same period in 2006 (4.0 million euros). Results were positive across all platforms, and buoyed by 69.2% growth in advertising revenues. This was reflected in the figures for EBITDA (up35.7% to1.9 million euros compared with 1.4 million in 2006) and EBIT (up 45.5% to 1.6 million euros, compared with 1.1 million in 2006).
Telecom Italia Media Group multimedia operationsspan satellite operations, interactive operations, and a new role as the Telecom Italia Content Competence Center. Satellite channel advertising revenue (for music channel MTV, and entertainment channels Nickelodeon and Paramount Comedy) was up sharply compared with the first quarter of 2006, and Interactive channels achieved a significant increase in unique users (850,000 for MTV.IT and 300,000 for La7.it).

DTT Television

First-quarter 2007 revenues more than doubled to 12.3 million euros after 132.1% growth (5.3 million euros for the first quarter of 2006). Profitability also improved significantly with rises in EBITDA (up 77.1% to -3.6 million euros, compared with -15.7 million euros in 2006) and EBIT (up 51.6% to -10.4 million euros, compared with -21.5 million euros in 2006).

This performance reflected higher pay-per-view revenues and margins (EBITDA for 2007 was a positive 1.1 million euros, compared with -7.9 million euros for the same period in 2006), allied to development of “La7 Cartapiù” commercial offerings – which have benefited from Telecom Italia’s agreement with Mediaset to broadcast Serie A football matches – and higher sales of digital bandwidth as a Network Operator.

QOOB TV – a multimedia platform for top animation, graphic design, film and music-based programming distributed via television, the internet and cellphones – continued to post growth, registering over 200,000 unique users in February.

Network Operator business (TI Media Broadcasting) in the first quarter of 2007 saw the completion of a 15.9 million euro contract for the acquisition of frequencies in Sicily to improve coverage in the region. Once the operation has been completed, nationwide population coverage by the two Digital Multiplexes will rise respectively to 87.2% and 74%.

News

First-quarter 2007 News Operations conducted through the APCom wire agency posted revenues corresponding to 2.1 million euros, in line with first quarter 2006 revenues. Profitability remained at the levels achieved during the same period in 2006. On average, the unit distributes over 900 news items every day.

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The Board of Directors resolved to merge Holding Media e Comunicazione HMC S.p.A. and HMC Pubblicità S.r.l. (under liquidation) into the company.

Approved by the administrative bodies of the companies being merged, the move entails no modifications to TI Media’s company bylaws, and requires no increase in TI Media’s registered stock as the company already owns 100% of both of the companies being incorporated.

The merger comes into effect on the final date that the merger deed is registered at the Companies Registration Office, that is to say, on the date stated on the deed itself, which is scheduled for signature in July 2007. After this date, operations undertaken by the companies being incorporated will be entered onto the TI Media accounts, including for tax purposes.

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The first quarter 2007 results will be presented to the financial community today during a conference call at 4:00 p.m. (Italian Standard Time). Journalists are invited to follow the presentation by calling +39 06 33485042. For those who are unable to follow the live conference call, a recorded version of the presentation will be available for 48 hours by calling: +39 06 334843 (access code 145232#).

 

ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCE MEASURES (file .pdf, 108 Kb)

Enclosures (file .pdf, 47.7 Kb)