Paybox ups competish with Mediaset

ROME — Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia paybox is launching Sky on demand in Italy, stepping up its competition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, and following similar Sky services in the U.K. and Germany.

Starting on Sunday, Sky Italia will provide Sky HD subscribers with a vast selection of movies, TV series, docus and sports available whenever they want at no extra cost.

My Sky HD will become the hub of a satellite/web platform, combining Sky Italia’s regular TV programming schedule, shows recorded by viewers, and the new on-demand features.

Unlike Mediaset’s Premium Play on-demand service, offered via live streaming, Sky on demand stores content on the decoder’s hard drive, ensuring high quality regardless of the Internet connection speed.

Though Italy lags behind most of the rest of Western Europe in terms of Internet use and penetration, the country’s IPTV market nearly doubled in value this year and is expected to be worth about $500 million by 2015, according to Italy’s eMedia Institute.

Sky has already launched on-demand service Sky Anytime in Germany and the U.K., followed by volume deals with Sony Pictures Television and Miramax respectively.

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