TIM scores with DAZN in revised guidance, but sees EBITDA wall breached

Telecom Italia (TIM) has published revised Group guidance. It looks like a game of two halves.

On the one hand, thanks mainly it seems to a Series-A distribution deal struck with streaming provider DAZN in March, TIM now reckons this implies an "acceleration" of forecasted revenue and EBIDTAal (after leases) growth during the 2022-23 period. TIM was originally anticipating low single-digit growth for revenue, and low-to-mid single digit growth for EBITDAal. Both financial metrics now occupy the slightly classier mid single digit growth berth.

No hard and fast reason was given as to why the impact of the DAZN agreement is now suddenly seen in a more positive light – previous guidance was issued in May, as part of Q1 results, two months after the Serie A distribution deal was inked with DAZN – but Sky Italy's recent (and failed) €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) bid to host DAZN's streaming sports content may well be a factor.

An allusion was also made in the revised guidance of building on TIM's latest Beyond Connectivity (2021-23) plan, approved by the board in February, which preceded content expansion on the TIMVision TV platform, not only through DAZN but Mediaset.

The three-year deal with Mediaset, which came into effect on July 1, includes 104 UEFA Champions League matches per season. TIM's arrangement with DAZN, on the other hand, allows it to showcase the streaming provider's full catalogue of live and on-demand sports content for the next three years, including Serie A soccer matches. DAZN acquired the rights to ten Serie A matches per day for the 2021‑2024 seasons, seven of them exclusive.

On the back foot

While TIM confirmed revenue guidance for 202, at stable to low‑single digit growth, it downgraded EBITDAal for the same period. Originally pitched in the low‑single digit growth bracket, EBITDAal for 2021 now wallows in the low to mid‑single digit decrease category.

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TIM appeared to pin much of the blame on delays in implementing the publicly funded “voucher plan, which is aimed at supporting digitalization among consumers and businesses.

The Italian incumbent added, somewhat teasingly, that "expected benefits" from Italy's Resilience and Recovery Fund, and the upside from acquiring Oi's mobile assets, were not yet factored into financial guidance.

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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