From Branislav Pekic in Rome
A total of 25 bids have been submitted for as many TV channels on the tender organized by Italian telecommunications regulator (AgCom) to award 40 per cent of capacity on five Italian digital terrestrial TV multiplexes.
The bids were submitted by 17 companies, and a special commission will now evaluate the bids before announcing the winners on August 23. A total of 12 TV channels will be awarded on one multiplex belonging to state broadcaster RAI and two multiplexes each operated by commercial broadcasters Mediaset and Telecom Italia Broadcasting.
The list of bidders reads like a who's who in broadcasting. The Disney group has requested one channel, while Jetix Europe, in which it has a 75.7 per cent stake, has requested another. Turner, ESPN and QVC have each requested one channel, while the NBC Universal group is seeking two channels, one of which is likely to be used by movie channel Studio Universal. Experienced European pay-TV operators, Sweden's AirPlus TV and the UK's Top Up TV, have also submitted bids, with the former requesting six TV channels.
Italian companies and broadcasters taking part on the tender are thematic channel producer Sitcom, financial information publisher Class Editori, the Consorzio Alphabet consortium (made up of Elea-De Agostini group and Interattiva), Anica Flash (cinema and entertainment info), Rete Blu (belonging to the Italian Catholic Church), sports rights broker Infront Italy, as well as local TV channels Telelombardia, Antenna 3 Nord Est and Altitalia TV