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Sky Italia moves ahead of Mediaset

Pay TV company earned $3.69 billion in 2008

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia satcaster has overtaken Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset TV group to become Italy’s No. 2 broadcaster in terms of revenue.

The results for 2008, announced Tuesday by Corrado Calabro, chairman of Italy’s communications authority, show that Sky Italia earned E2.64 billion ($3.69 billion), behind pubcaster RAI, with sales of $3.8 billion, and ahead of archrival Mediaset, which was pushed into third place with $3.54 billion.

The announcement put smiles on the faces of Sky executives, who have been involved in a war of words with Berlusconi’s government since it doubled value-added tax on satellite TV subscriptions in January.

“This is only the start,” James Murdoch, Sky Italia president, said. “The clients are happy, and we want to make them even happier.”

Calabro described Sky Italia as “the clear leader in the pay TV sector and a new competitor in the advertising market.”

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