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Mediaset joins digital Stream team

Deal yields channels Comedy Life, Duel TV

MILAN — Italy’s leading TV commercial group Mediaset has joined forces for the first time with digital TV platform Stream by launching two digital satellite thematic channels to be included in the existing satellite bouquet of the pay TV group.

Stream is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Italy’s telco Telecom Italia, while the majority of Mediaset is in the hands of Silvio Berlusconi.

Starting April 1, Mediaset and Stream will air, via Hotbird satellites, a channel called Comedy Life, the first Italian digital channel fully dedicated to women, and Duel TV, a male-targeted channel which will air soft porno films late in the night.

Most programming will come from Mediaset’s huge library but Mediaset’s VP for thematic channels Carlo Vetrugno said that the two channels will also produce some shows and TV movies.

Since 1998 Mediaset has been operating one digital TV channel, “The Happy Channel,” included in the digital package of Telepiu, Italy’s dominant pay TV platform. That platform is controlled by Canal Plus and RAI and is Stream’s competitor. Telepiu has about 1.5 million subscribers and Stream 450,000.

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