Sky Italia inks long-term carriage deal for net

Italians will soon get their fix of Hollywood-style glitz, glamour and gushing over celebs: E! Entertainment has just inked a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s satcaster Sky Italia for round-the-clock carriage of the lifestyle and pop culture channel.

Deal follows a similar agreement for E! inked with the Premiere platform in Germany.

Both services will launch in September.

The long-term channel deal for E! with Sky Italia will be unveiled today by E! Networks senior VP of international Kevin MacLellan.

“Launching E! in Italy marks another exciting milestone for us as we continue to establish the channel in non-English-speaking countries of Western Europe,” MacLellan said.

He added that the company was also looking at possible carriage arrangements in France and Spain: So far, the nicher is available in 23 countries including the U.K., Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Indonesia.

“E!’s unrivalled experience and access to all aspects of Hollywood and its celebrities will help satisfy Italian viewers’ thirst for news and gossip about the rich and famous,” said Sky Italia general manager for programming David Bouchier.

Fascination with celebs is mushrooming around the world — and news about them is particularly appealing to the 18-34 demo. Almost every foreign broadcaster says that’s the age bracket to which it’s trying to appeal.

The Italian-lingo version of the E! Intl. Network will be carried in Sky Italia’s Big Basic package.

In addition, “E! News Live Italia,” the first localized Italian-lingo version of E!’s daily entertainment news program, will become part of the weekday sked. Sky Italia will work closely with E! to produce a localized version of the skein.

Sky will sell advertising on behalf of E! Also involved in the negotiations was Brad Wald, E! Networks regional director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Programmed specifically for international audiences, the E! Intl. Network is distributed via satellite. It is available throughout Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Fully owned by E! Networks, the channel features programming from E!’s extensive library of originally produced entertainment series including “It’s Good to Be” and “The E! True Hollywood Story” as well as coverage of the hottest award shows, movie premieres and live events.

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