SKY Italia makes news for Murdoch

Stream and Telepiu merged to form pay-TV platform

Rupert Murdoch’s new-born Italo pay-TV platform SKY Italia will launch a news channel on Aug. 31.

SKYtg24 “will have something in common with its brothers Sky News in the U.K. and Fox News in the U.S., but will be more colloquial and less aggressive, per the service’s news director Emilio Carelli.

A result of the merger of Italy’s two long-time struggling operators Stream and Telepiu, Sky Italia is now the only pay-TV platform in Italy.

It will compete against terrestrial TV giants, Mediaset, controlled by Italy’s premier and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, and pubcaster RAI.

Carelli, a former Mediaset journalist, will head a group of 80 staffers. Producer Alan Friedman will provide SKYtg24 nine news shows per week, for which 50 more journalists will be working full time.

Sports, financial news (in cooperation with Bloomberg), and breaking news will have a major role, and the channel will have close links with the other TV networks of the News Corp. group abroad.

It will focus on local news and will not privilege Italian political events, as its two competitors do.

“We will be politically balanced,” Carelli said, answering to the widespread fear in Italy that Murdoch’s news TV will be close to his friend Berlusconi and the right-wing parties.