RAI budget keeps on even keel

Market share will shift toward RAI Uno

TAORMINA, Italy -- Italian state broadcaster RAI is planning an annual budget of 400 million euros ($620 million) and predicting a market share of 44% for fiscal 2008-09 -- both the same as in the previous year -- RAI director Claudio Cappon said Tuesday.

The announcement means that this will be the first time in at least three years that RAI's budget did not increase in at least nominal terms, though the broadcaster predicts that its market share will include a slight shift toward flagship network RAI Uno, which should see its market share increase slightly, to 22.5%.

The broadcaster did say that it plans some shifts in programming choices, focusing more on fiction programming, news and sports.

Cappon, appointed to his post by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, declared RAI "healthy and ready to be a public service."

RAI is gearing up to compete next year against Berlusconi's Mediaset and News Corp. satellite unit Sky Italia, both of which have invested in new programming options for the fall and winter seasons.