Italy’s RAI revamps, melds sales wing

ROME — Italo pubcaster RAI’s restructuring plan came to fruition last week with the official launch of RAItrade.

The pubcaster’s scheme is to maximize commercial potential by downsizing sales and distribution arm Sacis, music and publishing divisions Fonit Cetra and Nuova Eri and other sales administration branches into a single unit.

“With the establishment of RAItrade, RAI has set out to convey a strong message to the market,” said recently appointed managing director Tino Cennamo at a Rome press conference Thursday. “RAI no longer will commit to buying product from other parties, but intends to focus activity on its own productions. For that reason, a new name was needed that reflects this philosophy.”

Cennamo formerly was director general of the Italian operations of Buena Vista.

Unlike Fonit or long-established audio-visual sales operation Sacis, RAItrade will not be involved in acquisitions or minimum guarantees and will handle only RAI product, thus lessening the financial risks.

RAItrade’s principal activities will be rights sales to films, TV productions and sports; supply of archive material; sale of program packages and formats; on-line services; homevideo, CD-ROM, audio and editorial publishing and product merchandising, a potential revenue source that up to now has been largely untapped.

It will handle product made for RAI’s free TV webs and thematic satellite channels as well as the RAI Intl. and RAI Educational arms.

Sacis execs taking key positions at RAItrade include sales director Sesto Cifola, head of international sales Vincenzo Mosca and head of domestic sales Gustavo Van Peteghen.

The new division’s main offices will remain in Rome, with a branch office in Milan to handle national TV sales plus overseas reps in strategic territories.

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