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New RAI licence fee will surpass Sky Italia revenue

RAI will surpass Sky Italia in terms of revenue as a result of the new TV licence fee, according to research by Italian investment bank Mediobanca.

The new fee, inserted into electricity bills from July 2016, will generate an additional €420 million, or 26 per cent more than currently, for Italy’s public broadcaster. RAI’s total revenues in 2014 amounted to €2.45 billion, of which €1.57 billion raised through the licence fee.

Under the new rules, licence fee evasion would drop from 30.5 per cent to an estimated 5 per cent, enabling RAI to fully collect €2.87 billion. This would enable the public broadcaster to surpass pay-TV operator Sky Italia (€2.69 billion) and commercial broadcaster Mediaset (€2.37 billion).

The rate of TV license fee evasion in Italy is estimated at 30.5 per cent in 2014, compared to about 5 per cent in the UK and virtually absent in France and Germany (1 per cent), where the fee levied is tied to the residence.

According to Mediobanca, Mediaset leads in profitability among the major TV groups active in Italy, with a ratio of net operating income and revenues of 7.6 per cent in 2014. Sky Italia follows with 2.6 per cent, RAI has a negative ratio of 4.4 per cent, while national broadcaster La7 has a negative ratio of 15 per cent. However, the absolute leader in profitability is Discovery Italia (11.5 per cent), favoured by a business model that does not foresee significant number of own productions.

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