Mediaset-Owned News Channel to Begin Broadcasting on Sky-Italia's Satellite Platform


ROME – TgCom24, the new all-news channel owned by Italian broadcast giant Mediaset will start broadcasting Wednesday on Sky-Italia’s satellite platform, further illustrating that the long-time battle between Italy’s two largest private sector broadcasters is evolving into a kind of détente.

The two companies involved are both subsidiaries of companies controlled by two of the world’s most powerful media tycoons: Mediaset is controlled by Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, while Sky-Italia is a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Uneasy allies in the 1990s and the early part of the last decade, Berlusconi and Murdoch locked horns in the pay TV sector starting in 2003 and then in the cinema sector and elsewhere. But since an antitrust lawsuit in 2009, the battles between the companies the two men own have cooled, including various cross-platform deals like this one. The biggest previous deal put Mediaset Plus premium content network on the Sky-Italia platform.

TgCom24, which broadcasts 19 hours a day, going silent from 1-6 a.m., first started broadcasting only on Nov. 28. It is also available on free terrestrial airwaves and is streamed over the Internet with special editions tailored for smartphones and tablet computers.

Mediaset is Italy’s largest free-to-air broadcaster, while Sky-Italia dominates satellite broadcasting. Though Mediaset is larger, Sky-Italia is on pace to surpass it in 2013.

The other major media player in Italy is state broadcaster RAI, which, like Mediaset, runs three free-to-air commercial networks.

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