RAI will waive senior citizens' fee


ROME -- Starting next year, Italy's senior citizens will be able to enjoy programming from state broadcaster RAI without contributing to the company's budget -- if they ask.

The Italian parliament on Friday passed a law allowing Italians 75 and older to be excused from paying RAI's "canone," a $145-per-year fee that television owners must pay, with most of the proceeds used to support RAI programming and which provides nearly half of the broadcaster's revenue stream.

According to estimates, the change could slice as much as $14.6 million per year from RAI's revenue, depending on how many seniors apply for the exemption.

This is the first time an individual demographic group has been excused from paying the "canone."