Italian webs prefer to concentrate on homegrown programs

TV companies like RAI, Mediaset not looking for acqusitions

MILAN, Italy – Upcoming elections loom large over the Italian TV landscape.

The center-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi is expected to win in April, and the media-tycoon-turned politician is likely to be appointed premier.

In a desperate attempt to minimize the effects of their likely defeat, the ruling center-left parties already have sold Italy’s struggling broadcaster TMC and are trying to sell off part of pubcaster RAI.

TMC was controlled by Vittorio Cecchi Gori, who could not afford to run it anymore: The government sponsored its sale to former telco monopolist Telecom Italia during the summer.

The sale of a part of pubcaster RAI is, however, more complex and unlikely in the short term. RAI is meanwhile keeping its head down.

Berlusconi’s Mediaset is also turning its focus inwards.

After its aggressive and internationally minded CEO Maurizio Carlotti resigned in the spring, the Berlusconi family and Silvio’s old cronies resurfaced and are adopting a more local vision. RAI and Mediaset will thus be more focused on local programming and will continue to buy less and less from the U.S.

“This year we will not do much in Cannes. We’ll go there mainly to meet people and have a look around. But apart from some series, we will not be looking for anything this year,” RAI’s head of acquisitions Carlo Macchitella says.

Roberto Pace, head of Mediaset’s production and distribution unit Mediatrade, says Mipcom will not be a crucial appointment for the company.

“Our library is full. We don’t need anything. We would like to find something special and unexpected, but in the era of the Internet, surprises are not many at markets,” he says.

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