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ROME – News Corp. subsidiary Sky Italia on Monday announced a major new distribution deal for content from the Miramax stable of films in what will be a significant blow to both state broadcaster RAI and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset.
The deal, jointly announced by Sky Italia and Miramax’s European offices, could leave RAI and Mediaset scrambling to replace Miramax content at a time when both companies are already struggling.
Earlier this year, RAI announced dramatic cutbacks that have scaled back production and acquisition plans and jettisoned staff, though it did result in the company’s first end-of-year profit in five years when it announced Thursday that it ended 2011 €4.1 million ($5.4 million) in the black.
Mediaset, meanwhile, announced last month it was slashing its shareholder dividend amid falling revenue. The company was also forced to deal with an embarrassing incident in which its ownership of the mediaset.com domain name was lost when attorneys failed to renew it. The company is now locked in a legal battle with a Delaware entrepreneur to re-acquire the rights to the name.
Sky-Italia, by far Italy’s largest satellite broadcaster and now approaching Mediaset in terms of overall revenue, did not announce immediate plans for the Miramax film library.
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