ROME — Rupert Murdoch’s new paybox Sky Italia was officially launched at a packed press conference Monday at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios.
But execs revealed few hard details about the future shape of the paybox, created when cash-strapped platforms Telepiu and Stream merged April 30 after months of tricky negotiations. Even the date it goes to air is undecided, although it will be sometime in September.
“We still have many tasks to do and many meetings to hold,” said News Corp. veteran and Sky Italia CEO Tom Mockridge. However, he confirmed, “There will be two sports channels, one 24-hour news channel and a lot of films, documentaries, sports, news, kids programs, and many channels that will be announced over the summer.”
The platform is expected to have 110-120 channels, including 50 or more radio channels.
Mockridge unveiled the team who will run Sky Italia, which will be based in Rome, Milan and Cagliari.
Murdoch is chairman and Mark Williams, who worked with Australia’s Foxtel, has been appointed chief operating officer. Osvaldo De Santis, who has worked with Fox in Italy for 20 years, is general director. David Bouchier, formerly at satcaster BSkyB, is general director for product.
The board of directors will include News Corp. deputy CEO Lachlan Murdoch; News Corp’s. Chase Carey, recently involved in the acquisition of DirecTV; Francesca Di Carlo, from telco giant Telecom Italia, which has a 19.9% stake in Sky Italia; and Martin Pompadur, prexy of News Corp. Europe.
Mockridge was particularly cautious about financial details and the business plan, claiming it was too early to make any announcement.
“Our long-term target is reaching 10 million subscribers, the same number the U.K. has, as Italy and the U.K. have similar populations and revenue models,” he said.