Italo b’casters cleared by gov’t

RAI, Mediaset exceeded rev limit through 'natural and organic growth'

MILAN — A long-awaited verdict from Italy’s Authority for Communications stated that pubcaster RAI and Silvio Berlusconi’s TV group Mediaset did not violate antitrust regulations and will not be hit by any Microsoft-style measures.

Each of the two broadcasters did exceed the 30% limit of total revenues in Italy’s TV market, including advertising sales, pay-TV subscription fees and state aid paid yearly to RAI.

However, the two TV groups achieved this result through “natural and organic growth” and not through acquisitions or consolidation, Italy’s media watchdog said.

The inquiry was related to 1997 revenues, the year when the Authority was created.

In that year Italy’s total net TV revenues reached 8.1 trillion lire (about $4 billion at the current exchange rate) according to Nielsen estimations, and Mediaset posted about $1.8 billion advertising revenues, while RAI reached $2.2 billion, including advertising and state aids.

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