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Mediaset in motion

Italo b'caster sets plans to bow prod'n unit

MILAN — Italy’s largest commercial broadcaster, Mediaset, will soon create a European film and TV company with international partners, Mediaset president Fedele Confalonieri said.

“By the end of this year, Mediaset will create a major entity for the production of films and TV fiction with European partners,” Confalonieri said Tuesday after a hearing at the newly established Media Authority in Rome.

Separate from Medusa

He did not unveil any details of the new venture. Sources close to Mediaset said the new company would produce and distribute film and TV product independently from Medusa, the film production unit owned by Fininvest.

Fininvest is a privately held company fully controlled by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi and his family, which has a little less than a 50% stake in Mediaset.

No details have emerged about the future partners of the Milan based group. Among Mediaset shareholders are France’s Canal Plus and Germany’s Kirch Group.

Good int’l relations

Berlusconi also has a good relationship with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, despite the fact that talks about the sale to Murdoch of a stake in Mediaset broke down twice in the last few years.

According to recent press reports, Berlusconi, Murdoch and Leo Kirch recently met in Germany to discuss several projects.

Commenting on a separate issue, Confalonieri confirmed that Mediaset will soon launch a round-the-clock news and information channel. It will be transmitted via satellite and will be a subscription only service, probably part of Telepiu’s digital platform. The channel will mainly air news items from Italy.