Italian limits (Sky's) ads on pay TV, greenlights Cielo

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

The Italian Government is to limit advertising on all pay-TV broadcasters, including Sky Italia and Mediaset Premium. The decree, which has been prepared by Deputy Minister for Communications, Paolo Romani, could be approved by the Government today (December 17.)

The draft foresees that the amount of hourly advertising on pay-TV channels would be reduced from 18 per cent to 12 per cent. However, this measure is likely to hit Sky Italia more as Mediaset Premium still does not air more than 12 per cent advertising per hour.

Critics point out that the move would only serve to increase advertising on Mediaset's FTA and pay-TV channels, which already have 63.8 per cent of the Italian TV advertising cake. On the other hand, advertising would be cut by one third for media groups that use the Sky Italia platform such as Disney, Fox, Discovery, RCS and De Agostini. Fox Channels Italia has already expressed concern that any lowering of the advertising ceiling could force the company to “cut jobs”.

In a spirit if giving with one hand while taking with the other, Romani has finally authorised the start of broadcasting of News Corp's first FTA digital terrestrial channel in Italy, Cielo, which will start broadcasting on December 16 at 19:00 CET on the Rete A multiplex.

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