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Sony and Viacom bet on DTT in Italy

Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN) has announced the acquisition of two Italian DTT channels from local media group Television Broadcasting System (TBS) as part of its strategy to expand its presence in Western Europe.

Broadcasting since 2011, free-to-air channels NekoTV and Capri Gourment are available on channel positions 45 and 55 of the national DTT network. At this moment it is unclear which channels SPTN plans to launch on the two frequencies.

The agreement between SPTN and TBS is still subject to approval by the competent authorities, but all the details have already been agreed.

The announcement comes at the same time as the end of the distribution contract with Sky Italia for SPTN’s AXN and AXN Sci-Fi channels.

Significantly, the deal will see SPTN gaining a foothold on Italy’s increasingly competitive DTT market that already includes strong players such as Sky Italia, Discovery Italia and Viacom.

According to local news agency Radiocor Plus, Viacom is in advanced negotiations with US peer Scripps Networks to purchase national DTT channel 49, currently used by Fine Living. The asking price is around €10 million and Viacom has yet to announce its plan for this frequency. Scripps Network would move Fine Living to DTT channel 33, which it purchased last year.

Meanwhile, Viacom’s Paramount Channel has just celebrated one year of broadcasting on DTT in Italy, achieving a stable 1 per cent audience share that rises to 1.3 per cent among the target audience of 25-54 year olds.

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