Mediaset plans all-news channel

Increasing rivalry between Mediaset, Murdoch's Sky-Italia

ROME -- The head of Mediaset said the broadcast giant would unveil a new all-news channel before the end of the year, adding that there was risk of a war between Mediaset and New Corp's Italian subsidiary.

Pier Silvio Berlusconi, the eldest son of billionaire Mediaset founder and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, did not give details about the plan, which will open another front in the increasingly heated battle between Mediaset and Rupert Murdoch's Italian broadcaster Sky-Italia.

In recent months, Mediaset created Mediaset Premium to compete against Sky-Italia on satellite frequencies, and before that it lined up a series of content deals to compete against Murdoch's News Corp.

In an interview that appeared in Wednesday's edition of Corriere della Sera's magazine "Sette," the younger Berlusconi said the Italian television sector was in the midst of what he called a "revolution," and he said a full-fledged war against Murdoch in Italy was "a risk." He said the all-news channel was part of a wider effort to assure that the television medium always gives more to its viewers.