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Mediaset going with Boing after children

Kids' channel to bow with 'Babe' on Nov. 20

ROME — In a partnership with Turner Broadcasting, Italy’s Mediaset launched its first terrestrial digital channel, Boing, dedicated to children.

The 24-hour kiddie station kicked off Nov. 20 with the Aussie piglet pic “Babe” and will feature a lineup largely made up of reruns of old shows such as “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” and “Mork and Mindy,” as well as docus and some toons.

Boing’s general director will be Turner Broadcasting Systems Italy topper Jaime Ondarza, who also heads the Italian units of Turner toon channels Cartoon Network and Boomerang, both beamed by Sky Italia.

While Italy is scheduled to make the transition to terrestrial digital TV by the end of 2006, that date is considered optimistic. The country, with more than 20 million TV homes, has only some 850,000 digital decoders.

Mediaset’s main competitor, pubcaster RAI, recently launched two terrestrial digital channels: the culture-themed RAI Doc and the regionalized public service station RAI Utile.

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