Mediaset eyes digital deal

MILAN — Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset is currently in talks with pubcaster RAI and Italy’s telco STET about joining their common digital TV platform, STET managing director Tommaso Tommasi said.

“The agreement we signed with RAI in April to create a joint digital platform was an open one by definition, and we are talking to other operators. Yes, we are talking with Mediaset,” Tommasi said. “We do not have a clear deadline for finding partners,” he said.

According to Tommasi, STET and RAI may also reach an agreement with Telepiu, the pay TV network controlled by Canal Plus and the Kirch Group, in which Mediaset’s holding company Fininvest has a 10% stake.

Pay restrictions?

Telepiu launched a digital satellite pay TV bouquet at the end of 1995, while RAI is providing digital transmission only for its three channels, because current regulations forbid it from entering the pay TV industry. STET’s multimedia unit STREAM has just started to offer digital cable TV programs.

Telepiu’s director of the board Mario Rasini said the pay TV group is interested in joining the RAI-STET platform but is also considering the possibility of a separate digital standard.

According to the daily Sole-24 Ore, Mediaset, which owns three national channels, is working on plans to launch thematic TV channels.

“The thematic channels could be included in the existing digital satellite bouquet of Telepiu,” the daily said. If Telepiu were not to join the RAI-STET platform, Mediaset would probably choose Telepiu’s separate platform, the paper said.

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