TivùSat details revealed: ‘no intention’ to offer pay-TV

The line-up of Italy’s free-to-air satellite platform TivùSat was announced yesterday, prior to the platform’s official launch on July 31.

TivùSat, jointly owned by public broadcaster Rai, commercial broadcaster Mediaset (with 48.25% each) and Telecom Italia Media (with 3.5%), provides access to Rai’s three main channels and commercial channels Canal 5, Italia 1, Rete 4 and La7 as well as digital channels including Rai 4, Boing, Rai Gulp, Iris, Rai News 24, Rai Sport Più, Rai Storia, Mediashopping, Class News, Sat 2000 and K2-Kids. International channels on the platform include Euronews, France 24, BBC World News, TVE International, Canal 24 Horas, Arte, Deutsche Welle, ZDF and ARD.

TivùSat will broadcast via the Eutelsat Hotbird platform at 13° East and will be encrypted in Nagravision.

At an event to mark the launch, TivùSat president Luca Balestrieni said the platform’s goal was to reach the 5% of Italian households that would not be able to receive digital-terrestrial TV by 2012. He said that TivùSat did not intend to offer pay-TV content in the future.

However, the launch of the platform coincides with the possible withdrawal of Rai’s pay-TV channels from the line-up of pay-TV platform Sky Italia if the pair fail to strike a carriage renewal deal by the end of this month. Sky is boosting its movie offer with a new channel launch, and has said it will add other channels to its line-up. The pay-TV operator has reportedly offered to pay Rai €425m for a deal, but Rai has refused.

Rai’s vice-director general, Giancarlo Leone, said yesterday that there was no link between the launch of TivùSat and Rai’s overall strategy and relations with Sky.