Italian MFE operating profit falls in first quarter as costs rise

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s MediaForEurope (MFE) said its operating profit fell in the first quarter of the year due to rising costs, partly related to paying for content rights.

The country’s top commercial broadcaster, controlled by the family of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, reported group operating profit of 15.3 million euros in the first quarter ($16.37 million) against 67.9 million euros in the same period last year.

Formerly known as Mediaset, MFE, which makes most of its revenue in Italy selling advertising space on its free channels like Canale 5, said its domestic ad sales increased 2% over the of the first three months of the year.

The group’s total operating costs, including its Spanish subsidiary, amounted to 639 million euros against 566 million euros the previous year, the broadcaster said.

The company said it expected “positive economic results” this year despite the fallout from the Ukrainian war on the economy.

($1 = 0.9347 euros)

(Report by Elvira Pollina, edited by Giulia Segreti)