Mediaset Exploring Pay-TV Content Distribution Deal With Vivendi

Mediaset SpA, Italy’s largest commercial TV broadcaster, is exploring an agreement with Vivendi SA for distribution of premium content, though an accord isn’t imminent.

“We have an excellent relationship with Murdoch’s family as well as with Vincent Bollore,” Mediaset Chief Executive Officer Pier Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday at a press event in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, referring to billionaire Rupert Murdoch and Vivendi chairman Bollore. “I can’t see any imminent accord” with the French company, he said.

There aren’t any discussions with Murdoch’s local unit Sky Italia regarding a sale of Mediaset’s pay-TV unit Premium, Berlusconi said.

Mediaset is cutting costs while boosting spending on programs to lure customers to its pay-TV offering. As part of its strategy to gain exclusive content, a year ago Mediaset beat Sky Italia by bidding about 700 million euros ($795 million) for the rights to broadcast soccer’s UEFA Champions League for the 2015-2018 period. The broadcaster is also studying non-exclusive deals with phone carriers to increase its services on mobile devices.

“Mediaset is not interested in a pure commercial accord with Telecom Italia, it doesn’t make sense replicating our offer on Telecom Italia platform and we are open to all phone carriers,” the CEO said.

Pier Silvio, 46, the oldest son of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, took the helm of the company in April, replacing Giuliano Adreani.

Stefano Sala, head of Mediaset’s advertising unit Publitalia, said ad sales in the second quarter will be better than during the first three months of the year, when revenue fell 1.6 percent.

Mediaset shares rose 1.2 percent in Milan to 4.25 euros at 10:27 a.m., giving the company a market value of 5 billion euros.

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