Italy Cinema, TV Production Sales Fall 24 Percent Since 2008, Study Says

RAI Logo - H 2012

RAI Logo - H 2012

The economic crisis is the main culprit, forcing major players RAI and Mediaset to lower rates and sending ripples across the sector.

ROME – Hurt by falling rates paid by sector giants RAI and Mediaset, the value of all television and cinema fiction content produced each year in Italy as shrunk by nearly a quarter since 2008, according to information released Friday by the Roselli Foundation, a Turin-based public policy think tank.

The report said that at the end of this year, the fiction sales of all the companies in the production sector was worth €650 million ($830 million) at the end of last year, a decrease of 24 percent compared to 2008 when the European economic crisis first started to be felt.

According to Bruno Zambardino, the author of the report, the main culprit was the spending habits of state broadcaster RAI and Mediaset, the cinema and television giant controlled by billionaire tycoon and three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

“There are only really two main players buying content in Italy, RAI and Mediaset, and maybe a small part for Sky-Italia,” Zambardino said, mentioning the Italian subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. “As the situation for these buyers worsened during the crisis, they lowered their rates for fiction content and that has had a wide impact.”

Zambardino noted that in 2008, RAI and Mediaset combined to spend around €400 million ($510 million) on fiction acquisitions; last year it was only €270 million ($345 million).

He said that over the 2008-2012 period the number of companies producing content has remained more or less consistent -- about 200 companies total, with around 25 of them working regularly and the rest producing only occasional content -- meaning the same companies are splitting a progressively smaller pile of cash.

Twitter: @EricJLyman