Telefónica was hit to the tune of €38 million in the first quarter as it recognized Spain’s TV tax for the first time.
The tax was imposed in 2009 as part of a package of measures following the phasing out of advertising on the public broadcaster TVE. A 0.9% tax was imposed on telecommunications services while a 3% tax was imposed on public television stations. The premise was that with the reduction of available airtime on TVE, advertisers would instead turn to the private sector.
Telefónica has been looking to its TV operations to make up the shortfall, first quarter growth up 9.3%, bringing the total of pay-TV connections to 2.6 million. The Company now offers pay TV services in Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.
In Spain, pay-TV customers increased by 21.2% on March 2009, adding 30,000 new homes in the first quarter, compared to a net loss in 2009. Telefónica has increased its customer base to 733,000; bundling remains an important part of the proposition with the Dúo and Trío packages representing 89% of connections.
In the rest of the Czech Republic provides 138,000 pay-TV households, and another 48,000 in Germany.