August 1, 2019 / 3:26 PM / 4 months ago

Mediaset's Italy ad sales fall after losing soccer rights

FILE PHOTO: The Mediaset tower is seen in Cologno Monzese neighbourhood Milan, Italy, April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian largest commercial broadcaster Mediaset (MS.MI) reported a 10.5% fall in domestic advertising sales in the first half of the year, feeling the impact of the loss of rights to Serie A and Champions League soccer matches.

On a like-for-like basis, the broadcaster reported a 2.4% fall in ad sales in the first half, it said in a statement on Thursday. The figures were boosted last year by the one-off benefits of the 2018 soccer World Cup.

Mediaset, controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, last year lost the rights to top club soccer matches, leading to a large loss of subscribers.

According to data provided from research firm Nielsen, advertising sales in Italy shrunk by 5.7% in the first six months of the year compared to the same period of 2018.

Mediaset added advertising sales in Italy had improved on a like-for-like basis in July, adding it expected further growth of 4-5% in August.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina; editing by Valentina Za/Keith Weir

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