Italo web TMC ramps up

New money brings a new name and a fresh attitude

MILAN — Italy’s financially beleaguered TV net TeleMontecarlo (TMC) is getting an infusion of cash, energy and a new name, La7.

Weblet attracts just 2% audience share. “We plan to increase our audience share to 5% and reach 600 billion lire ($280 million) in advertising revenues within a short period of time,” said TMC chief exec Ernesto Mauri. “This will finally bring us out of financial dire straits and to profit.”

The station will also invest $140 million in programming, Mauri added. The new programming, targeting a youth audience, will be launched in September.

While still controlled legally by film producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori, TMC-La7 is managed by cash-rich Telecom Italia, which recently inked a deal to acquire 75% of the network.

Italy’s media authorityhas tried to block the sale, but the deal is widely expected to go through eventually.

Telecom Italia has hired not only Mauri but also a number of RAI and Mediaset veterans, including journalist Gad Lerner and presenter Fabio Fazio.

Enrico Mentana, powerful head of news for Mediaset flagship web Canale5, may also join the net.