Landmark agreement between Italy's Mediaset and Sky
by Camillo De Marco
- Mediaset Premium will contribute 9 cinema and TV series channels to the Rupert Murdoch group satellite TV offering, while Sky will enter the world of digital terrestrial TV in June
Italy's Mediaset and Sky have announced an unprecedented strategic alliance that will put an end to the war that has raged for years between the two broadcasters and will pave the way for new Pay TV offerings that can provide an alternative to Netflix. The agreement signed by the family of the former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and Andrea Zappia, CEO of Sky Italia, requires Mediaset Premium to transfer nine channels to Sky, who will in turn offer Pay TV, available on DTT, through new frequencies made available by Mediaset.
These channels will appear at no additional cost for Sky customers subscribed to the relevant packages, as follows. Customers subscribed to the Sky Cinema package will see Premium Cinema and Premium Cinema +24, which broadcast recent films; Premium Cinema Energy, which broadcasts action films, thrillers and horror films; Premium Cinema Emotion and Premium Cinema Comedy, which broadcast comedies and romantic films. Those signed up to the Sky Family package, meanwhile, will see Premium Action, showing action, superhero, fantasy and science fiction series; Premium Crime, showing crime series; Premium Joi, showing family-friendly drama-based and romantic series; and Premium Stories, offering the biggest and best of American series focusing on relationships, feelings and all things glamour.
Sky Italia will rent bandwidth from the TV multiplexes managed by the Mediaset Group, Ei Towers, so as to ensure direct distribution, as of June, of a new Pay TV offering, specifically designed for digital terrestial TV. It will consist of nine Mediaset Premium channels, plus a selection of Sky and Fox channels. There will also be an additional sports offering, where all the relevant rights are owned by Sky. For this second part of the agreement, Sky will rent frequencies managed by Mediaset.
As Andrea Zappia has enthused, "The strategic agreement that has been concluded today between Sky and Mediaset is excellent news for lovers of TV. It will be like having two Pay TV options for the price of one [...] After the launch of Sky Q and the announcement of a partnership with Netflix, this agreement confirms Sky’s commitment to providing Italians with the best possible television experience". It also delivers a crushing blow to the ambitions of Vincent Bolloré and his French group, Vivendi, in Italy.
(Translated from Italian)
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