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Italian broadcasters RAI and Mediaset are a ”unique case” in Europe with a presence of TV channels on DTT that has no equal, according to pay-TV operator Sky Italia.
Speaking during a Parliamentary hearing in Rome, the executive vice president of Sky Italia, Eric Gerritsen, claimed an “intervention” is necessary in the awarding of frequencies. He also criticized the ownership of the joint industry committee for TV measurement (Auditel) and criticised the so-called Romani Decree of 2010 that set limits on advertising. He asked the Legislature and regulator to intervene on “principle, simple and reasonable rules”, which take into account that Sky Italia is not only a satellite broadcaster, but increasingly a multi-platform operator.
According to Gerritsen, the advent of DTT represents “a factor of strong discontinuity of the Italian TV sector”, with the expansion of the transmission capacity of the networks, allowing the development of new channels, such as the creation of a thematic offer, which was previously reserved for pay-TV. This has led to the multi-channel DTT offer becoming a real competitor to Sky Italia’s packaged offers.
Gerritsen highlighted that the Italian TV market has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the last 10 years with increased revenue of €2.3 billion and increased employment. However, the level of profitability of the entire sector is “very low”, with the four main broadcasters in 2012 generated a total EBIT of €31 million with a margin of just 0.4 per cent. “This indicator, Gerritsen said, indicates a strong criticality for the whole system” and “makes even more urgent early and brave intervention that can restore growth prospects and return to profitability.”
Gerritsen also called for a review of the law that assigns the Italian Serie A TV rights based on distribution platform.