×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Italy suspends free DTT channels

Critics claim Berlusconi's system favored his Mediaset

Italy has frozen plans to license new digital TV frequencies for free — a blow for former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset TV empire.

On Friday the recently installed government, headed by Mario Monti, suspended for 90 days the so-called “beauty contest” tender, set up under Berlusconi’s administration to award new DTT frequencies.

The tender assigned frequencies for free to broadcasters committed to massive investments, and had come under attack by critics claiming it favored incumbents, including Mediaset.

Mediaset, Italy’s top commercial broadcaster, blasted the decision in a statement, defending the beauty contest as legitimate and vowed to take action to keep the old rules.

But industry minister Corrado Passera indicated that the government, under pressure to raise cash, is likely to scrap it.

“The beauty contest was chosen in an economical and social context different from the current one,” he said.

“At a time when the government is asking for sacrifices from its citizens — and since TV frequencies are a scarce and precious resource — we are taking some time to find solutions that are more coherent with the growth, equity and austerity plan of this government.”

In September, 10 companies, including Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia, applied for one frequency band in the contest.

But Sky Italia pulled out last month, citing a convoluted process that favored existing players.

Italo merchant bank Mediobanca has estimated that if the government auctions the licenses it could raise up to $2 billion.

More TV

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • Tryion Lannister Game of Thrones Episode

    'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Episode 2 Leaks

    The second episode of “Game of Thrones'” final season has leaked online ahead of its Sunday night debut. Fear not, “Thrones” fans: though the internet is dark and full of spoilers, this post is free of any details from Season 8 episode 2. Rumblings of a leak began on the “Game of Thrones” Reddit and [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content