RAI could be privatised, says PM

Italy’s prime minister Enrico Letta says that the public broadcaster RAI could be privatised.  “The question of eventually privatising RAI is not part of the government programme presented, (but) we will discuss it, talk about it,” Letta told foreign journalists at a press conference in Rome.

Currently, Italians pay an obligatory annual TV licence fee to help finance RAI. According to a survey last year by the Censis research agency, the state TV tax is the most detested by Italians, who criticise the broadcaster on a wide variety of grounds.  Italians pay €113.5 a year for the RAI bouquet of TV and radio channels.  Just over 47 per cent of Italians say this is their “most detested” tax levy.

RAI has cost the Italian tax-payer a fortune over the years, although cost-cutting more recently has helped trim losses. Q1/2013 saw it achieve revenues (RAI accepts advertising) of €687 million, down €26 million compared to last year. This converted to a modest €3.5 million profit for the quarter.

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