Sweden’s MTG surges on strong profits

Swedish media concern Modern Times Group has reported a pre-tax profit of 566 million kronor ($74 million) for the second quarter 2009, exceeding market forecasts.

Sweden's MTG surges on strong profits
MTG CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht (Photo: MTG)

The firm reported a profit of 621 million kronor for the corresponding period of 2008, excluding a realized capital gain of 1.16 billion kronor from the sale of the DTV group.

MTG, which is part of the Stenbeck family firm, reported a turnover of 3.58 billion kronor, in comparison with 3.31 billion in the second quarter 2008.

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.

According to Albrecht the company’s open-TV operations continue to claim viewers and market share, at the same time as its pay-TV operations are increasing sales and customer spend (ARPU).

All of MTG business areas reported a profit during the second quarter.

MTG stock was up nearly 7.5 percent in late-afternoon trading on the Stockholm exchange, having risen 18.00 kronor to 259.50 kronor per share.

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Google News to return to Spain after seven-year spat

Google announced Wednesday the reopening of its news service in Spain next year after the country amended a law that imposed fees on aggregators such as the US tech giant for using publishers’ content.

Google News to return to Spain after seven-year spat
Google argues its news site drives readers to Spanish newspaper and magazine websites and thus helps them generate advertising revenue.Photo: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

The service closed in Spain in December 2014 after legislation passed requiring web platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay publishers to reproduce content from other websites, including links to their articles that describe a story’s content.

But on Tuesday the Spanish government approved a European Union copyright law that allows third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers regarding fees.

This means Google no longer has to pay a fee to Spain’s entire media industry and can instead negotiate fees with individual publishers.

Writing in a company blog post on Wednesday, Google Spain country manager Fuencisla Clemares welcomed the government move and announced that as a result “Google News will soon be available once again in Spain”.

“The new copyright law allows Spanish media outlets — big and small — to make their own decisions about how their content can be discovered and how they want to make money with that content,” she added.

“Over the coming months, we will be working with publishers to reach agreements which cover their rights under the new law.”

News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions have long seethed at the failure of Google particularly to pay them a cut of the millions it makes from ads displayed alongside news stories.

Google argues its news site drives readers to newspaper and magazine websites and thus helps them generate advertising revenue and find new subscribers.