MILAN May 13 Italian television company Mediaset turned to a net loss in the first quarter due to amortisation on Italian soccer rights and a 1.3 percent decline in total revenues.
Net loss in the quarter was 12.5 million euros ($17 million), against a profit of 9.3 million euros a year ago, while revenues fell to 820.8 mln euros, a touch below a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S analyst estimate of 823.8 million euros.
The company said operating costs in the quarter continued to fall, while advertising marked a progressive recovery and net debt fell thanks to cash generation.
In Italy the market remained slightly negative with total gross advertising down 1.8 percent to 501.8 million euros, which more than offset a positive showing in Spain, where it operates through Mediaset Espana.
Looking ahead, Mediaset said: "the poor visibility for the remainder of the year makes it difficult to make reliable predictions on results for the full year".
It said it will remain focused on possible strategic changes for its pay-TV business. ($1 = 0.7296 Euros) (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Stephen Jewkes)