RAI boosts spending on local films


ROME -- Italian state broadcaster RAI will increase its yearly spending on Italian-made films to €81 million ($105.3 million), the Italian financial press reported Tuesday.

The development, which was included in Italy's 1,400-page 2007 budget, is part of RAI's shift toward improving the quality of its programming. RAI officials have vowed to eliminate reality television shows and other "low brow" programming.

The overall plan also includes a proposal to break the broadcaster into three entities: one to run two non-commercial networks, one to run a commercial network and a third to operate the networks' broadcasting infrastructure. The theory is that such a division will make the networks less beholden to advertisers.

In this latest announcement, RAI said it will increase its budget for acquiring rights to Italian-made films from 2006's €53.6 million ($69.7 million), an increase of more than 50%. The increase comes even as RAI's overall acquisition budget remains flat as the government seeks to reduce its massive deficit.