MILAN — Italian terrestrial TV networks RAI and Mediaset, which still dominate the national broadcasting arena with over 90% of total auds, will be cautious buyers at Mipcom.
“No new slots have been rethought and locally produced shows will have more or less the same importance they have had in the last few seasons,” says Guido Barbieri, Mediaset’s director for rights and TV drama.
“The balance between international shows and local ones has changed over the last few years, with Italian shows gaining more importance. Our flagship channel Canale5 airs two locally produced series twice a week. Now that this balance has been established we do not expect it to change.”
Barbieri’s team, responsible for acquisitions for the three Mediaset channels (Canale5, Italia1, Rete4) will be looking at Mipcom for American movies for primetime.
“U.S. films are less successful than some years ago in terms of audience but they are very flexible and easy to fit in the programming,” Barbieri explains.
For youth channel Italia1, Barbieri will look mainly for U.S. series such as “CSI.”
“We are currently trying to develop some formats of international TV series, but I fear it would be too complex to produce them,” he says.
Mediaset’s total budget for acquisitions is E350 million ($395 million) this year, unchanged from 2002-03. Its local production budget is about $170 million.
Pubcaster RAI, which has fallen behind Mediaset, will be looking mainly for series at the Cannes market.
“Over the last two seasons we realized that international TV movies don’t work any more, so we’ll be looking for series,” says Carlo Macchitella, general director of RAI Cinema. “RAI 2 will broadcast more series, both in primetime and during the other slots, and we’ll need to make some acquisitions, but they will not be necessarily American shows,” Macchitella says. “Our viewers have become used to European products, and there is no big difference today between U.S. and German or French series.”
At the L.A. Screenings Macchitella was impressed with Paramount’s “Navy NCIS” and Warners’ “Tarzan.”
Still, coin to spend on series is limited and Macchitella will have to be choosy. “We have not bought anything so far and still have a tight budget for acquisitions, about half that of Media-set,” he says.