Pubcaster RAI Expected Back In The Black In ’95

Italy’s pubcaster RAI expects to be “back to profit” for 1995 after several years of financial dire straits and plans to increase investments “in programming and technology,” RAI president Letizia Moratti said at a press conference Jan. 26.

“Contrary to our early expectations to post again a large net loss in 1994, after the 480 billion lire ($306 million) loss in 1993, we reached a substantial break-even last year and will post a 30 billion lire ($18.8 million) profit in 1995. We also lowered debt to 1.12 trillion lire ($700 million) in 1994 from 1.50 trillion ($938 million) a year earlier,” she said.

Moratti, a friend of Silvio Berlusconi who was appointed when the tycoon was Italy’s prime minister, said RAI’s positive financial results were even more important because the pubcaster’s audience share also increased.

From October to January, the three RAI channels’ average daily 24-hour audience share rose to 47.4% from 45.2% a year earlier, she said.

In primetime, RAI reached an average share of 47.5%. Its only rival, Berlusconi’s Fininvest, which also airs three national webs, had a 44.5% share.

According to Moratti, RAI’s good showing was possible because of increased advertising revenues (up 6.4%), higher state aid (up 5.6%) and cost cuts. The reorganization plan will continue this year, with the target of reducing RAI’s work force by 700 employees, to 10,900, Moratti said.

The reorganization plan includes a structure for the web, with 13 internal departments instead of the current 28.

Moratti also announced new department directors. Among those, former RAI Channel 2 director Giampaolo Sodano will oversee TV program acquisition, production and co-production of the three.

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