Italy caps pay TV advertising

Italian authorities have approved a decree that limits the amount of advertising permissible on pay TV. 

The decree paves the way for a gradual reduction in pay TV advertising, which is a blow for News Corp-backed DTH platform Sky Italia. There will be annual 2% decreases in the ad minutes allowed, starting from this year. The overall minutes will be reduced accordingly, to 12% of overall airtime in 2012.

The introduction of the new rules has proved controversial as they arguably work against Sky and in favour of Mediaset, the TV company backed by the family of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Last month an Italian court ruled that Mediaset does not have to air advertisements from pay-TV platform Sky Italia. Mediaset and Sky had been locked in a legal battle in which Sky alleged competition rules had been breached regarding the airing of Sky advertisements on Mediaset channels.