ROME -- A Milan appeals court on Thursday sentenced Mediaset Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi and the company’s chairman Fedele Confalonieri to one year and two months in jail.The surprise ruling overturns their previous acquittal in a tax evasion case centered around multimillion-dollar Hollywood deals inked by the Berlusconi-controlled Mediaset TV empire.The long-gestating trial stems from hundreds of millions of dollars in movie rights purchased by Mediaset’s Mediatrade unit from Hollywood studios, including Paramount and Fox, through offshore companies to allegedly evade...
The son of former Italian prime minister and Mediaset founder Silvio Berlusconi, he took the reigns in the late 1990s at Italy’s top commercial TV network after his father went into politics and has since managed to maintain its leadership position in the country’s TV advertising market.
Also known as Dudi, he started out in the marketing department of Mediaset’s Publitalia advertising unit. He segued into its broadcasting side by first developing programming for Mediaset’s youth-oriented Italia 1 channel and subsequently taking charge of programming for all three of Mediaset’s national channels, starting in 1996. Mediaset today is a multi-channel and multi-platform broadcaster that comprises both free-to-air and pay-tv operations offering linear and non-linear contents. This is largely due to his decision to launch the Mediaset Premium paybox in 2005 with an innovative pay-as-you-go model that he personally devised.
While Mediaset Premium has struggled to turn a profit, it reached its target of 2 million Italian subscribers in 2016. In 2008 Mediaset bought leading Italian production company Taodue, which, along with its Medusa film arm, produces and distributes many of Italy’s hit movies, including comedy “Sole a catinelle,” Italy’s all-time top theatrical box office grosser.