By Branislav Pekic
Italian public broadcaster RAI will continue to make available its three main TV channels (Rai Uno, Rai Due and Rai Tre) via Sky, even after the launch of the TivÃ¹ Sat DTH platform on July 31.
Speaking during the presentation of TivÃ¹ Sat in Rome, the deputy director general of RAI, Giancarlo Leone, stressed that "there is no question that RAI will leave Sky Italia", even after the expiry of the contract with the Murdoch-owned satellite platform. At issue, according to his words, "is only whether the thematic RaiSat channels will be received", an issue which is the subject of ongoing negotiations. Mediaset/RTI CEO, Marco Giordani, has also denied that their three TV channels (Canale 5, Rete 4 and Italia 1) will not be available to the 4.5 million Sky Italia subscribers from August.
It has now emerged that the programmes aired free-to-air, of which RAI and Mediaset do not posses the foreign TV rights, will be encrypted on Sky Italia but not on TivÃ¹ Sat, provided the viewer is equipped with the smart-card.
TivÃ¹ Sat, which is owned by leading Italian broadcasters RAI (48.25%), Mediaset (48.25%) and Telecom Italia Media (3.5%), will launch via 13 degrees East with 22 free-to-air channels, although viewers will have to equip themselves with a Nagravision digital box and card, which costs less than E100. According to TivÃ¹'s Alberto Sigismondi, other broadcasters have also expressed interest in coming on board the DTH platform.