Mediaset preps mobile TV channel

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ROME -- Italian broadcaster Mediaset said Tuesday that it is developing a new television channel to be carried on mobile devices.

The channel will include content taken from Mediaset's three national networks and the vast film archives of partner company Medusa, but the content will be adapted for viewing on the small screen, local media reported.

"It is fundamental to have content colored by the mobile user experience," David Bogi, head of new projects at Mediaset, was quoted as saying.

The Mediaset content will be marketed to mobile phone operators, the reports said. Mediaset officials were unavailable for comment because of the Labor Day holiday in Italy.

The entry of Mediaset into the market solidifies Italy's strong position as a leader among European countries in this fast-growing sector. Italy is the only European country to have three mobile operators using the latest cutting-edge DVB-H technology for the delivery of television content to mobile phones, with a fourth expected to join the race this year.

All three operators now develop their own content, with mobile provider 3 SpA offering the most comprehensive selection, with 12 channels.

Among the three mobile providers -- Telecom Italia Mobile, Vodafone-Italia and 3 SpA -- Italy is thought to have more than 2 million users -- with nearly 5 million equipped with handsets that allow for at least some digital video content.

The fourth company, Orascom Telecommunications subsidiary Wind, plans to add service by the end of the year.

Among the companies, coverage now reaches more than half of Italian territory and three-fourths of the population.
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