The five largest broadcasting groups present on the Italian market account for 216 TV channels out of 399, or 65 per cent of the total.
Sky Italia is the biggest broadcaster in the terms of the number of channels (111), followed by Mediaset (38), Rai (27), Discovery Italia (24) and Fox Italia-Disney (16), according a study by Confindustria Radio-TV.
In total, 121 media groups are active in Italy, of which 74 are based in the country.
There are 148 free-to-air channels (on DTT and TivùSat DTH) and 186 pay-TV channels (Sky Italia DTT + DTH).
The study highlights the fact that the Covid-19 health emergency dealt a severe blow to the media market and accelerated a process of transformation of the entire system already underway.
Although audience figures in the spring months recorded a significant increase, advertising revenues dropped by 30 per cent (-€435 million compared to 2019). The absence of sports and other premium content (movies, TV series) also had a significant impact on the traditional (linear) pay-TV business.
Due to M&A operations (i.e. Disney-FOX, Viacom-CBS, Comcast-Sky, Warner Media-AT&T), the main global players are moving increasingly towards a “Direct To Consumer” business model. This has impacted the TV channel/premium linear content offer in pay-TV packages, with Sky Italia stopping distribution of Disney and certain Fox and ViacomCBS channels.
After the closure of Mediaset Premium in June 2019, the pay-TV offer on DTT has undergone a profound reorganization, with the consolidation of Sky Italia, now the only pay-TV operator (DTT/DTH) in Italy.
The FTA component of the DTT market remained stable in the first half of 2020, with no major changes. The main new trend is the expansion of the visual radio channels (both on DTT and DTH), which now totals 18.
The 4K offer is still marginal and limited to satellite, as the DTT platform is refarming the 700 MHz band frequencies, which includes the transition to DVBT-2 with advanced codecs that are an essential pre-condition for offering UHD.
Free-to-air DTH platform TivùSat has expanded its 4K offer with the addition of My Zen TV 4K, Museum 4K and Travel XP, taking the total to seven channels.
In conclusion, the Italian TV landscape still shows significant dynamism, despite the proliferation of competing international online streaming offers including Netflix, Amazon, DAZN, Apple TV+ and Disney+, from the end of March 2020.