Sky sparks Italian price war

Pay TV operator cuts rate by 25%

MILAN — A price war in the Italo pay TV market is in the offing after Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia announced it was slashing prices of some services up to 25%.

In a counter-attack against the success of rival mogul Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset paybox, Sky Italia said it had dropped the entry-level price of its premium movie and sports channels by 25% to a monthly E29 ($36).

Under the new pricing structure customers can choose one premium package (either soccer, cinema or sport), and two of the Mondo packages, such as entertainment or documentaries.

Murdoch’s Italo satcaster will also be renamed simply Sky as it is in the U.K.

Sky’s Tom Mockridge said the move was “our response to having gone backwards in the last two quarters of the year; we want to drive momentum forward.

“It will send out a powerful message in the marketplace, particularly in contrast to our competitors, which have much more rudimentary technologies,” he added.

But Italo TV analyst Alessandro Bai-Badino of Deutsche Bank, said: “Despite what Sky says, the basic Mediaset package is still nearly E10 ($12) cheaper a month, and Italians will be aware of that.

“This offer sounds like more hype than substance,” he added. “And let’s just see how long it lasts.”

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