Viacom, Fox, De Agostini and Mediaset are in the running for the two free-to-air channels (Pop and Cine Sony) that Sony is putting up for sale in Italy.
According to daily Il Sole 24 Ore, the front runners are Viacom and Mediaset, while Discovery, which initially seemed to be interested, now appears less likely to bid for Sony’s assets.
Viacom is seen as the favourite because it is already responsible for collecting the advertising revenue for the two channels, via its unit Viacom Pubblicità & Brand Solutions.
Mediaset is allegedly interested as it wants to further increase its portfolio of FTA channels.
Italian media group De Agostini is already present in the FTA market with two channels – Alpha (aimed at a male audience) and Super! (for kids and children, in partnership with Viacom).
Market rumours even moot a possible tie-up between De Agostini and Viacom for the Sony channels.
For its part, Fox allegedly joined the race recently and is considering the possibility of launching its thematic channel National Geographic and FX via the national DTT network in Italy.