Sky Italia has a “monopolistic position” in the country and the Mediaset chairman warned legal disputes between the companies will continue until there is a level playing field.
Fedele Confalonieri, a close friend of Mediaset owner Silivio Berlusconi, dismissed protests from the satellite broadcaster that it should be allowed to broadcast pay-TV channels on the digital terrestrial television platform where Mediaset has its own Premium paid-for service. “They have a monopolistic position because they have their platform that is closed,” said Confalonieri, “So we [Mediaset] have [DTT] that is open to everybody. They have their own platform and you can't enter there. So this is monopolistic.”
News Corp's Sky undertook not to launch pay-TV on DTT until at least January 2012 as a condition of being allowed to merge two existing satellite companies in 2003. But since Mediaset launched Premium in 2007, Sky Italia has campaigned in both Italy and Brussels to have the undertakings relaxed.
The European Commission is carrying out a study of the Italian market to determine the issue.
Confalonieri added: “We have to have reciprocity. We can't have our own channel of pay TV [on the satellite platform]. If they are allowed to have their own pay TV on DTT, we ask to have the same on satellite.”