From Branislav Pekic in Rome
The 2012 deadline for the definite switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial TV is too far away, according to the president of Mediaset, Fedele Confalonieri.
Speaking at a DTT convention in Turin, the head of Italy's largest private broadcaster admitted that the initial deadline of 2006 was “too optimistic”, but pointed out that the rest of Europe has opted for 2010. He added that digital TV will become a reality much earlier than many expect, as very soon only TV sets with integrated decoders will be sold.
Confalonieri recalled that since 2001, when spectrum trading was authorised, Mediaset has invested E500 million in hardware â€“ i.e. the acquisition and digitalisation of transmitters and related frequencies, and E1200 million for the acquisition of TV rights.
In the first nine months, the broadcaster's PPV service, Mediaset Premium, sold 2 million pre-paid cards and 4.9 million top-ups. In the period, revenues totalled E142.8 million, more than double the E61 million in the first nine months of 2006. The figure includes the E48.7 million relative to the sale of encrypted football rights to other platforms.