Italian earthquake proves costly to RAI

Company loses $2.6 mil due to ad-free 'day of mourning'

ROME -- The earthquake that shook the Italian region of Abruzzo on April 6 left 300 people dead and as many as 100,000 homeless -- and it also cost state broadcaster RAI at least 2 million euros ($2.6 million).

According to a statement released from the company Friday, the ad-free "day of mourning" the broadcaster ran in the wake of the tragedy cost RAI that amount in lost ad revenue.

The loss comes amid an erosion of the television ad market due to economic factors: RAI reported earlier than its ad sales over the first quarter of the year were down by 25% compared to the first three months of 2008.