SAT-ITALY 16.05.1997


The CEO of Italian state telecommunications operator Stet, Tomaso Tommasi di
Vignano has said that his company has approached the private TV holding
company Mediaset and other Italian and foreign media companies (first of all
Canal Plus/Telepiu) for joining the digital platform set up by RAI and Stet.
This comes move comes after the deal signed in April with RAI for developing
a joint digital platform for future satellite and cable services.
The talks with Mediaset will probably end with a memorandum of
understanding, similar to the one signed with RAI. The deal could see all
the major Italian media players cooperating on a single digital platform. It
remains to be seen how the Antitrust authority will judge the existence of
only one digital decoder made in Italy, similar to what has happened in Germany.
Tommasi di Vignano has also announced that a foreign partner for Stet will
be found by the end of the year. This will help the privatization process of
the state telecommunications giant, essential for the relaunch of the
company. The Italian press has speculated that American telecommunications
giant AT&T is the front runner in talking a stake in Stet. Finally, Stet's
CEO confirmed that they will continue their investments in the cabling up of
the principal Italian cities (the so-called "Socrate" project).

The launch of a new thematic channel in Telepiu's digital satellite package
has recently been announced. From September 1st, Telepiu subscribers will be
able to watch Marcopolo, a 24 hour channel dedicated to travel and tourism.
The new channel is a joint-venture between pay-TV network Telepiu and the
Sitcom company. Viewers will be able to visit the places which inspired the
major cinema directors from the Italian provinces to the deserts of Africa.
The Marcopolo channel will join the "Basic" package of channels which are
offered to subscribers at the price of 15 DEM a month.

The latest news is that the Italian minister for post and
telecommunications, Antonio Maccanico has prepared a maxi-amendment which
should ease the passage of the new Telecommunications bill in the Italian
Parliament. An amendment proposed by the Green Party requiring the
installation of satellite dishes (SMATV) in new apartment blocks and
defining the rules for installing satellite dishes in the historical parts
of the major Italian cities has also been included in the legislative
proposal. The voting process in the Parliament will start May 20th. In order
to get the approval of the major opposition parties, the Italian government
is ready to move the date by when Telepiu's terrestrial service must leave
the terrestrial transmitters, opening up much needed frequencies for other
TV networks.
The government proposal is as follows: the Tele+3 channel will have to move
to satellite-only broadcasts by December 31st (an extension of four months
in comparison to the previous . Tele+2 would be required to move 8 months
after the adoption of the frequency list which should be defined by
January'98. One of the the Telepiu managers, Mario Rasini has already
expressed satisfaction with this proposal and also said he is favorable of a
unique Italian digital platform.

The Italian daily "Il Messaggero" has published the contents of a document
which details the plans of state television RAI for the future, reached
during a meeting of RAI's top managers. First of all, it seems that RAI has
given up on the idea of transforming it's third TV channel, RAI Tre into a
federal channel. This adventure would have cost around 600 million DEM, and
it has been decided that the third channel will still be a regional service,
but with no commercials. The cost of the re-vamped RAI Tre will be much
lower - around 150 million DEM.
The council of administration of RAI is also planning to increase the
license fee by 10-12% in the next two years. For this price increase, the
Italian viewers will be offered, besides a "new and improved" RAI Tre,
several new thematic TV channels which will be broadcast via satellite. They
will not be scrambled, but only viewers with the equipment necessary to
receive the new digital services will be able to watch them.
Finally, it seems that there is also talk of privatizing RAI which would
become a holding company, made up of four subsidiaries.  Also, there is a
possibility that RAI Tre could open itself to other partners, leaving RAI as
the minority owner.

Several personnel changes have been announced at the private TV holding
company Mediaset which operates the TV channels Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete
4. The director of private TV channel Canale 5, Giorgio Gori has been
nominated as the new director of Italia 1. For the time being he will also
continue to head, until a successor is named. The former director of Italia
1, Carlo Vetrugno will head Mediaset's new department responsible for new
thematic channels and international markets. Vetrugno has already announced
the possible launch of two new thematic satellite channels (a children's and
cultural channel) this autumn. In his new role, he will also be responsible
for "exploring the possibility of other markets", especially Spain.

- The leading private radio network in Italy, Radio Dimensione Suono (RDS),
is in talks with the Cecchi Gori Group for taking over the Videomusic TV
channel. RDS has recently been the target of the Saudi media magnate Al
Waleed who wants to buy the station.

                             FOR THE WEEK MAY 18-24

19.V - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Sostiene Pereira (ITA-95), starring: Marcello
Mastroianni, Stefano Dionisi
20.V - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Racket - Part IV (ITA-96), starring: Michele Placido
21.V - RAI DUE, 20:50h - I due carabinieri (ITA-84), starring: Carlo
Verdone, Enrico Montesano
22.V - RAI TRE, 20:40h - Ghostbusters 2 (USA-89), starring: Dan Aykroyd
22.V - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Racket - Part V (ITA-96), starring: Giusi Cataldo
23.V - RAI TRE, 20:40h - The assasin (USA-92), starring: Gabriel Byrne,
Bridget Fonda
23.V - RAI UNO, 22:50h - Padre padrone (ITA-77), starring: Omero Antonutti
24.V - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Stranger in the house (USA-96), starring: Kathleen
Kinmont, Michele Greene

18.V - RAI TRE, 14:30h - Tennis: Italia Open - final (men)
18.V - RAI DUE, 15:55h - Tennis: Italia Open - final (men)
18.V - RAI DUE, 19:00h - Basketball (m): Italian league, BENETTON-TEAM
SYSTEM, play-off
21.V - RAI UNO, 20:40h - Football: UEFA Cup - final, INTER-SCHALKE 04
21.V - RAI TRE, 22:55h - Box: WBO World titlefight, welter category ROSI-NYAKAMA
23.V - RAI TRE, 15:40h - Volleyball (w): Italian league
23.V - RAI TRE, 16:00h - Basketball: Italian league, A2 division 
24.V - RAI TRE, 12:50h - Formula 1: GP Spain - heats 

[Other mailing lists]