* Lagardere Active sales down 17 pct in Q3, ad sales down 8
* Lagardere still aims for flat 2012 media operating profit
* Bertelsmann stops short of repeating net profit outlook
* TF1 channel Q3 ad revenue falls 10.2 pct
(Adds TF1 results and outlook)
By Dominique Vidalon and Harro Ten Wolde
PARIS/FRANKFURT, Nov 13 Top European media
groups have issued a raft of trading updates showing how the
sector is being buffeted as economic slowdown hits advertising
and makes the outlook more uncertain.
French media-to-aerospace group Lagardere posted a
slump in sales at its print and broadcasting division, while
publisher Bertelsmann and broadcaster RTL
said the economic crisis in Europe could weigh on earnings.
TF1, France's biggest private broadcaster, said
the fall in ad revenue at its main TF1 channel accelerated over
the summer, falling 10.2 percent in the third quarter, against
5.9 percent in the first half.
Tuesday's comments were the latest sign of difficulties
facing the sector, after other media and advertising groups such
as Publicis, WPP and Omnicom cited
economic headwinds as the main cause for declining advertising
ProSiebenSat.1, RTL's biggest competitor in
Germany, last week reported a drop in German ad sales.
Bertelsmann, which also owns publishers Gruner + Jahr and
Random House, previously said it saw a rise in net profit in
2012, but stopped short of repeating that outlook on Tuesday.
It said group profit would be impacted by special items in
the print business and several direct-to-customer businesses, as
well as from its operations in southern Europe.
"Also, the subdued economic outlook and the euro crisis make
it difficult to predict our future performance at this point,"
TF1 confirmed full-year revenue would be flat because of
"challenging economic conditions and intense competitive
pressure" and also pointed to heightened price pressure over the
At French group Lagardere, there was a 17 percent sales
slump at Lagardere Active, the group's magazines and radio
division, in the third quarter. The unit accounts for roughly a
fifth of revenue and is the most sensitive to the advertising
Advertising revenue in the unit, which owns radio stations
in France and Belgium, fell 8 percent, which was slightly worse
than expected, CM-CIC analysts said in a note.
Strong book publishing sales, boosted by the launch of new
titles such as J.K. Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy", helped
offset the downturn at the Active division.
Lagardere, which competes with Pearson Plc and
Bertelsmann in radio and book publishing, said it still expected
its core 2012 media profit to be stable compared with 2011.
Third-quarter group revenue of 1.96 billion euros ($2.5
billion) compared with a forecast for 1.95-2.00 billion in a
Lagardere had, in late August, predicted the second half of
the year would be stronger than the first. [ I D:nL6E8JUG5F]
Bertelsmann said it still saw moderate revenue growth and
high operating earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the
Europe's largest media group, which said last month it would
merge its publisher Random House with Pearson's Penguin, said
revenue rose 5.7 percent to 11.4 billion euros over the first
nine months of the year.
RTL said its TV advertising sales slightly increased in
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, but said it still expected
its 2012 operating profit to drop, citing an increasingly tough
($1 = 0.7867 euro)
(Editing by Dan Lalor and David Holmes)