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Mediaset Espana Sees End to Contraction of TV Ad Market

Spain’s television advertising market will probably end 10 consecutive quarters of shrinkage in the final three months of this year, according to broadcaster Mediaset Espana Comunicacion SA.

“In December there’s still a bit of uncertainty, but we expect the TV ad market to be flat in the fourth quarter,” Chief Financial Officer Javier Uria said in an interview today. In the third quarter, spending dropped 3 percent, according to the Madrid-based company.

The recovery is driven by spending by telecommunications companies, said Uria, who was attending an investor conference organized by Morgan Stanley. Spending grew about 2 percent to 3 percent in October and will be little changed this month from a year ago, he added. Telefonica SA and Jazztel Plc are among phone companies competing for broadband Internet customers.

Spain’s economy grew 0.1 percent last quarter, marking the first expansion in Europe’s fourth-largest economy since the first quarter of 2011. Under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the country imposed the deepest budget cuts in its democratic history, weighing on consumer spending and deterring companies from spending to promote their products.

Total ad spending in Spain, which has contracted by about half since 2007, will still probably decrease by more than 11 percent this year, according to researcher Zenith Vigia.

Mediaset Espana, which holds a 22 percent stake in Promotora de Informaciones SA’s pay-TV business, is closely monitoring whether Prisa is selling the unit, Uria said. Prisa owns 56 percent of Digital Plus, while Telefonica holds the remaining 22 percent.

“We are comfortable and happy with our minority stake as we have a positive relationship operationally and a good shareholder agreement,” he said. “But things could change and if that happens we will have to react and make the best decision in our interest.”

Mediaset Espana shares rose 5.2 percent to close at 8.35 euros in Madrid today.

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