RAI unveils 2000 plans

Net aims to up p'gramming, afternoons getting soapy

MILAN — RAI director general Pierluigi Celli unveiled some changes in strategy aimed at strengthening the network’s programming next year.

“We are satisfied with our results. In primetime we widened our share to 49% of the total audience, up 0.6% from 1998, when we aired the soccer World Cup,” Celli said Monday during the pubcaster’s traditional year-end press conference.

“We still have some problems in the afternoon and latenight, when (rival commercial broadcaster) Mediaset commands a larger share,” Giuseppe Cereda, head of RAI strategic marketing, added.

Celli said that RAI would soon produce an afternoon soap.

RAI will post a 90 billion lire ($50 million) profit this year, despite a decrease in state aid.

While Mediaset revenues come exclusively from advertising, RAI receives financial support through ad revenues (which have a government-imposed ceiling) as well as state-mandated license fees.

But that still left RAI president Roberto Zaccaria feeling frustrated. “Ad revenues post an average 9% increase per year, while the total amount including ad revenues and state aid has only a 5% growth: It’s like driving on the highway at a speed of 120 km per hour, while Mediaset drives at a 180 km per hour speed,” he said.

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