Italo tube sales grow in Europe

Profit due to sale of soccer rights, TV drama

ROME — While the increased popularity with local audiences of homegrown primetime television drama has led to its proliferation on Italian screens in recent years, sales results indicate that appetites also are expanding across continental Europe for Italo tube productions.

Roberto Di Russo, president and CEO of pubcaster RAI’s sales arm RAITrade, says that while the $6.5 million in net profit generated by the division in 1999 is due largely to the sale of soccer rights, TV drama also played a significant part.

Heading the list of hot RAI sellers are two medical dramas, a series centering on an easygoing, middle-aged cop and another on a trio of lovelorn assistants in a clothing store, all of which were top-rated programs in Italy.

Europe is enchanted

The widest sales have been registered by “Enchantment,” a family drama set in a private cosmetic surgery clinic that has been picked up for broadcast in 12 territories. Among them are key Western European markets such as France and Germany as well as much of Central Europe, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

This is followed by ratings champ “Maresciallo Rocca,” starring veteran thesp Gigi Proietti as the mild-mannered lawman, which has been placed in Germany, Greece, the Middle East and throughout Central Europe.

With its second installment currently in preparation, hit miniseries “Shopgirls,” headlining popular star Sabrina Ferilli, has sold to France, Poland, Spain and Bulgaria, as has “More Than a Doctor,” about the personal and professional problems of a female gynecologist.

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