Italy drafts new pay-TV ad rules

New rules governing the amount of advertising that pay-TV channels can carry are closer to implementation after Italian authorities approved a draft of new legislation.

The decree still needs governmental approval, but if it gets that will reduce permitted advertising minutes per hour. The rules would be phased in over a three- year period starting 2010. The proposed changes have attracted criticism from opposition parties that allege they are designed to negatively impact Sky Italia, which is a rival to Mediaset, the broadcast group owned by Prime Minister Berlusconi’s family trust. The government maintains that it is applying an EU directive.  

The news follows earlier reports that the country’s authorities were moving towards rejection of the changes.