Italian-lingo channels secure international distribution

ROME — Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset has inked a wide-ranging distrib deal with Liberty Media-owned thematic channel provider Chello Zone that will bring its Mediaset Italia channel to expats across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The Italian-language channel combines news, soccer, game shows and fiction from Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4, the three generalist terrestrial webs operated by Mediaset, which is controlled by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Mediaset’s expansion in the so-called EMEA countries, plus Asia, follows its launch of Mediaset Italia on cable in the U.S. in September in a bid to conquer the 15 million Italian-Americans who live Stateside.

Mediaset’s main rival, pubcaster RAI, has long aired on satellite around the world via its RAI International arm.

At home, Mediaset and RAI run neck and neck in the ratings, each with an over 40% viewership among the Italian public.

“We are very happy to have come to representation with Chello Zone, one of the world’s leading channel providers,” said Mediaset head of sales Patricio Teubal in a statement.

Chello Zone, which is the European content division of Liberty Global, distributes programming in more than 120 countries.

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