SAT-ITALY 14.02.1997


According to the new Telecommunications bill which is yet to be approved by
the Italian Parliament, RAI's third TV channel RAI Tre is set to become a
regional network, loosely linked with the state-run broadcaster. The
administrative council of RAI has already come up with a proposal of a
national network with several daily regional "opt-outs". According to this
proposal, the new RAI Tre (provisionally called Rete Territoriale) would be
similar to the French regional broadcaster France 3. It would be
half-financed by license fee (around 1,200 billion lira) and will have
around 2,500 employees.
The tentative proposal is that the regional "opt-outs" in programming will
be between 06:00-08:30, 12:00-14:30, 19:00-20:00 and finally 22:30-24:00
hours. Regional studios in the 21 regions of Italy will prepare local
programs focusing on traffic news, weather and other information, but there
will also be talk-shows and current affairs programming devoted to local
In comparison, the France 3 regional network has 3,500 employees while the
German ARD regional network employs more than 24,000 people. The German
model differs however since there are 12 independent regional channels who
exchange programs between themselves.

The Italian and French state broadcasters RAI and France Television are
involved in a project to help the development of the new Palestinian TV
station. After the Peace Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian
authorities in September 1993, several European countries led by Italy and
France promised to help the development of media in the area controlled by
the Palestinian authority.
RAI and France Television have been actively pushing for allowing access for
the Palestinian TV to the Eurovision network and a cooperation agreement
with the satellite channel Euronews is also in the works. There is a
possibility that the Palestinian TV will be involved in the project of a new
multilingual satellite channel for the Mediterranean which would transmit
news and arts programming.
The Palestinian TV network started broadcasting in June 1994 from Jericho
with a small budget. It currently broadcasts 12 hours a day and covers the
whole territory controlled by the Palestinians. More than a hundred people
are employed on the station which, thanks to donations from Europe and Japan
uses modern transmission equipment. 

During a recent meeting held in Milan, the directors of RAI Uno, Giovanni
Tantillo and of Canale 5, Giorgio Gori talked about the television of the
future. In answer to a question if existing general entertainment channels
will be substituted by thematic pay-TV channels, both of them concluded that
this type of channels will not have an immediate impact in Italy.
According to Gori, "in the U.S., only 7% of viewers are interested for new
interactive services, it takes about 43 minutes to choose between 500 TV
channels and they are ready to spend only 15-20 dollars for pay-TV. This
means that general entertainment channels will continue to exist and develop
their existing role"

The representatives of the Italian football teams Roma, Lazio, Inter and
Fiorentina are exploring the possibility of  transmitting their games via
cable.  Telecom Italia's cable subsidiary Stream has recently started a
cable expansion program which is set to offer numerous Italian families the
possibility to enjoy a variety of TV channels and multimedia services.  An
agreement has already been reached to offer an experimental service,
starting with the live transmissions via cable of a tournament involving the
four teams at the end of the current football season.
The football teams want to copy the Spanish model, by if not being able to
directly sell TV rights for their matches, could at least abandon the method
of dividing the pay-TV rights into equal parts among all the teams. Roma for
example has a high average of subscribers to the pay-per-view service
Telecalcio despite its position on the league table and is among the most
popular teams. It's owners think that they have the right to receive in a
proportional manner money from TV rights.

At the HQ of Telepiu in Milan the effects of the mega-merger between NetHold
and Canal Plus are slowly starting to be seen. One thing is certain and that
is that Italy is one of the most important objectives in Canal Plus's
strategy. According to CEO Pierre Lescure "it is our priority market". One
thing is sure - it is not going to be easy.
Telepiu has currently no more than 826,000 subscribers to its terrestrial
service which is still below the 900,000 necessary in order to start making
a profit. The digital satellite package which launched officially last
September has only 52,000 subscribers, although estimates were that there
would be at least 100,000 by 31st December 1996. But even worse is the fact
that it seems that the predictions that by 1999 there will be one million
subscribers to the analog/terrestrial service and 1,500,000 for the digital
service seem only to be a dream. It's not a surprise then that Telepiu has
contacted a pool of banks lead by Chase Manhattan in order to obtain a loan
of 600 billion lira which would be used to finance the development of the
It seems that the high cost of digital receivers/decoders (around 1,800 DEM)
is the reason why the number of subscribers has been much lower than expected.
Two weeks ago, the managers of  Canal Plus met with the vice prime-minister
Walter Veltroni. The objective of their meeting was to convince the
government to delay the August deadline by which Telepiu would have to
abandon terrestrial transmissions to concentrate only on satellite. This
delay would be of key importance for the relaunch of the service. Telepiu
has several options in this matter.
First of all is that it would still keep its two terrestrial services
(Tele+1 and Tele+2) and to broadcast the third service (Tele+3) only via
satellite. The other option is to keep only one terrestrial service which
would broadcast a combined movie/sports schedule. If the government agrees
to these proposals, Telepiu will commit itself to investing money in new
Italian movie productions.

- Cecchi Gori has denied press rumours according to which that the German
media company Bertelsmann was ready to buy a stake in his TV interests. Some
sources close to Cecchi Gori however confirm that Bertelsmann's experts are
currently examining the financial situation of the company.

- Mediaset has suceeded in buying the Italian TV rights to the final of this
years Cup Winners Cup and of the quarter-final match Benfica-Fiorentina

                                   FOR THE WEEK FEBRUARY 16-22

16.II - RETE 4, 20:35h - Remains of the day (UK-93), starring: Anthony
Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Christopher Reeve
16.II - ITALIA 1, 20:40h - The package (USA-89), starring: Gene Hackman,
Tommy Lee Jones
16.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Robin Cook's Terminal (USA-96), starring: Nia
Peeples, Doug Savant
17.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Yuppies 2 (ITA-87), starring: Ezio Greggio,
Massimo Boldi
17.II - RAI UNO, 20:50h - The power of one (USA-92), starring: Stephen
Dorff, Morgan Freeman
17.II - CANALE 5, 20:50h - Malice (USA-93), starring: Alec Baldwin, Nicole
17.II - RETE 4, 23:00h - Fire, ice and dynamite (GER-90), starring: Roger
Moore, Shari Belafonte
18.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - My blue heaven (USA-90), starring: Steve Martin,
Rick Moranis
18.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Chisum (USA-70), starring: John Wayne, Forrest Tucker
18.II - ITALIA 1, 22:30h - Nuns on the run (UK-90), starring: Eric Idle,
Robbie Coltrane
18.II - RETE 4, 23:15h - The shining (USA-80), starring: Jack Nicholson,
Shelley Duvall
19.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Pocahontas - the legend (USA-94), starring: Miles
O'Keefe, Sandrine Holt
19.II - RETE 4, 20:35h - Arabesque (USA-66), starring: Gregory Peck, Sophia
19.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - An inconveniant woman (USA-91), starring: Jason
Robards, Rebecca de Mornay
19.II - ITALIA 1, 22:30h - Leviathan (USA/ITA-89), starring: Peter Weller,
Richard Crenna
19.II - RETE 4, 22:40h - Bye bye baby (ITA-88), starring: Luca Barbareschi,
Brigitte Nielsen
20.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - White sands (USA-92), starring: William Dafoe,
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
20.II - CANALE 5, 21:00h - Stop or my mom will shoot (USA-92), starring:
Sylvester Stallone, Estelle Getty
20.II - RETE 4, 22:40h - The great Gatsby (USA-73), starring: Robert
Redford, Mia Farrow
21.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Keeper of the city (USA-91), starring: Louis
Gossett Jr., Peter Coyote
21.II - RAI TRE, 20:45h - Somebody has to shoot the picture (USA-90),
starring: Roy Scheider, Bonnie Bedelia
21.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - White hunter, black heart (USA-94), starring:
Clint Eastwood, Jeff Fahey
22.II - RAI TRE, 20:30h - Short cuts (USA-93), starring: Jack Lemmon, Lori
Singer, Andie MacDowell
22.II - RETE 4, 20:40h - Avalanche (USA-78), starring: Mia Farrow, Rock Hudson
22.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Broken lullaby (USA-94), starring: Mel Harris, Rob
22.II - CANALE 5, 21:00h - ..Continuavano a chiamarlo Trinita (ITA-71),
starring: Terence Hill, Bud Spencer
22.II - CANALE 5, 23:15h - Diavolo in corpo (ITA-85), starring: Maruschka
Detmers, Federico Pitzalis
22.II - RETE 4, 23:40h - Corri uomo corri (ITA-68), starring: Tomas Milian,
Linda Veras

18.II - RAI DUE, 19:00h - Basketball: Italian league KINDER BOLOGNA-MASH VERONA
19.II - CANALE 5, 21:00h - Football: MILAN-CHELSEA (friendly)
20.II - RAI TRE, 22:50h - Box: DURAN-MURRAY, match for the title of  WBU
champion in the welter category
21.II - RAI TRE, 12:25h - Alpine skiing: World cup, super G (w) from Garmisch
22.II - RAI TRE, 17:10h - Basketball: ITALY-ALL STARS

18.II-22.II - RAI UNO, 20:50h - 47-th San Remo Festival
Foreign acts appearing:
18.II - Mark Owen, Jamiroquai
19.II - Lionel Richie, Spice Girls
20.II - David Bowie, Bee Gees, The Fugees
21.II - Al Jarreau, Warren G
22.II - Mirelle Mathieu, Kula Shaker, Nathalie Cole

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