Italy’s RAI will withdraw its five RaiSat channels from News Corp’s Sky Italia satellite platform starting 1 August, sources familiar with the situation said today. RAI’s move follows months of fruitless negotiations with Sky over a renewal of an existing contract.
Sky Italia had offered 425 million euros to RAI for its digital channels, including RaiSat and Rai Cinema, for seven years, but RAI rejected the proposal, which didn’t include a payment for its three free-to-air channels. RAI’s traditional free-to-air channels - Rai1, Rai2 and Rai3 - will continue to be broadcast on Sky’s platform, but may be partially blacked out for specific programmes, the sources said.
RAI and Mediaset, which is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, recently joined forces to launch a new satellite platform called TivuSat on 31 July, in a move expected to increase competition in a market now dominated by Sky Italia. Analysts say the launch of TivuSat and the pullout by RAI of its channels from Sky’s platform are related moves, which may favour Mediaset and its pay-TV offer in the medium term.