From Branislav Pekic in Rome
By 2012, pay-TV revenues will surpass advertising income in Italy, according to the latest research by the Milan-based e-Media Institute consultancy.
The research indicates that advertising revenues will continue steadily, even after the strong fall in 2009, while revenues from pay-TV, pay per view and video on demand services will grow at an average annual rate of 9.8 per cent, reaching E3.8 billion in 2012.
By 2012, around 50 per cent of the Italian population will acquire a pay-TV service, with the dominant platform being digital satellite, followed by digital terrestrial, which should have around 4.5 million users in three years time. IPTV could finally end the long period of stagnation, carving itself a role as an integration platform between free-to-air and pay-TV. However, for 2009 there are not predictions of a rapid growth of the IPTV market in Italy.
According to the e-Media Institute, a total of 398 digital TV channels are currently available in Italy, 219 of them free-to-air (55 per cent of the total) and the remaining 179 subscription-based (including PPV and VOD services). General entertainment, sports and channels dedicated to movies and TV series are the most numerous. Two highlights of the report are a strong growth in "kids/teens" channels (over 20).