Italy watchdog says ad market heavily concentrated

ROME Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:55am EST

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ROME Nov 28 (Reuters) - The Italian market for buying and selling advertising space is too heavily concentrated in the hands of the two biggest operators, WPP Plc and Mediaset , communications authority Agcom said in a report on Wednesday.

It said British multinational advertising and public relations company WPP had a share of more than 40 percent in the overall advertising placement sector in Italy.

Mediaset, controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which sells advertising space on both free-to-air and pay television, had more than 62 percent of the national market in its sector.

The report said the advertising sectors in Italy, Britain and Germany had similar market structures but only in Italy was the market share of the biggest operators above 40 percent.

It said the high market concentration "contributes, other conditions being equal, to creating a market balance which is does not guarantee favourable results."

Agcom said its investigation showed the heavy concentration of the sector in the hands of the dominant players "could prejudice its correct functioning with significant repercussions on competitive dynamics."

It said that despite a slight reduction in the level of market concentration, the TV sector was still dominated by Mediaset.

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