Swedish broadcaster MTG quits Slovenia

Swedish broadcaster Modern Times Group, MTG, said Wednesday it will cancel its Slovenian television channel TV3 and quit the EU country citing the unfavourable media environment there.

“We’ve been forced to such a radical step by the situation in Slovenia’s media market determined by monopolies and a lack of competitiveness,” TV3’s head Gregor Memedovic said in a statement.

MTG entered Slovenia’s media market in 2006 and created TV3, which currently employs 39 people and has 11 percent of the country’s viewers.

“Despite that, TV3 could not win a proportional share (to the number of viewers) in the advertising market and has been registering large losses,” Memedovic said, adding there were no prospects of the situation improving over the next years.

In 2010, TV3 and state television RTV filed a complaint before the Competition Protection Authority against media house Pro Plus for allegedly forcing advertisers to sign exclusive contracts with its commercial television channels POP TV and Kanal A.

The competition authority opened an investigation in 2011 but has yet to make a ruling.

According to Pro Plus figures, POP TV and Kanal A together have a 60-70 percent market share in Slovenia.

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MTG stock falls despite profits hike

Swedish media concern Modern Times Group (MTG) has reported a pre-tax profit of 499 million kronor ($75 million) for the third quarter 2009.

MTG stock falls despite profits hike
R├Ądda radion! ("Save the radio!") campaign at MTG subsidiary MTG Radio, December

The firm reported a profit of 336 million kronor for the corresponding period of 2009. Despite the profits increase, the stock markets punished the firm in afternoon trading.

MTG, which is part of the Stenbeck family firm, reported a turnover of 3.53 billion kronor, in comparison with 3.18 billion in the third quarter 2009.

Excluding currency effects, the firm boosted revenues in all of business areas, which include among other things, the television operator Viasat which recently purchased the rights to the English Premier League.

“The performance was once again led by our Scandinavian free-TV operations, which capitalised on strong advertising demand and rising pricing levels,” CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht said in a company statement.

Analysts had forecasts a pre-tax profit of 443 million kronor and a turnover of 3.53 billion kronor, according to a Reuters poll.

“The business climate remained difficult in the second quarter with pressure on advertising budgets in all countries and significant falls in revenue among the TV companies,” MTG CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht wrote in the interim report.

Albrecht outlined the company’s primary goal of increasing audience and market share.

We aim to take further audience and market shares and to continue to invest in enhancing our competitive market positions. We have been encouraged by the level of advertising demand in Scandinavia and the stability in the emerging advertising markets,” he said.

MTG stock dipped 4.69 percent on news of the report in late-afternoon trading on the Stockholm exchange, having declined almost 25 kronor to 499.90 kronor per share.