Mediaset slots digital BBC World

Prexy hints at further Italian pacts

MILAN — Italian broadcaster Mediaset has inked a three-year deal with the BBC to carry the Brit pubcaster’s BBC World on its Italo digital terrestrial service, which will bow Dec. 1.

Mediaset prexy Fedele Confalonieri and BBC World head Patrick Cross concluded the deal in London on Wednesday.

It signals the beginning of a commitment to digital terrestrial broadcasting, Confalonieri said. “The BBC deal is just the first step. In the next few days we will announce four new agreements with major players, all Italian.”

In 2003-05 Mediaset, controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest, plans to invest more than E200 million ($233.5 million) in the new services, including interactive programming, due in spring.

The Italian broadcaster already had an output deal with the BBC for news shows and docus.

Digital terrestrial will be available to half the Italian population and will require adapted TV sets or decoders.

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