News Corp. pay operator will increase ad revenue share

News Corp.’s Sky Italia, Italy’s dominant pay TV operator, will eat into rival Mediaset’s domination of the country’s advertising market in the next two years, a new report predicts.

The ITMedia Consulting study suggests that Sky Italia’s annual ad revenues will increase by €100 million ($140 million) to about $490 million by 2012 as it takes greater advantage of the economic recovery.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia has had its market leadership threatened by a cheaper, digital terrestrial pay TV platform set up by Mediaset, owned by Italo Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Mediaset enjoys greater ad revenues than Sky Italia thanks to its combination of pay and free-to-view channels.

ITMedia Consulting director Augusto Preta said, however, things were looking up in the next two years, particularly for Sky Italia.

“On the back of a slight economic recovery, TV advertising, which is the most important part of this industry, will return to growth, ensuring that in three years we return to levels similar to those of 2008,” he said. Overall, “the competition between Murdoch and Berlusconi will become even stronger,” he added.

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