RAI Trade 1999 profits rise; soccer deals eyed

RAI arm to launch sports webs

MILAN — RAI Trade, a unit of Italy pubcaster RAI, saw profits before taxes rise last year to 17.5 billion lire ($9 million) from $6 million a year earlier, RAI Trade prexy Roberto Di Russo said. The pubcaster also announced that it will launch two sports channels dedicated to top soccer clubs Inter and Roma.

Unit is responsible for trading rights of films, TV dramas, sports, theater and music on the national and international markets. Most of the programs are RAI productions or co-productions.

Di Russo said the results reflected increased sales of drama programming abroad and more deals inked with Italian soccer clubs to distribute their matches out-side Italy.

Two new agreements are expected to be signed soon with Inter and Roma clubs to launch two digital pay TV channels, Di Russo said.

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