Mediaset to appeal after losing digital decoder battle

Italian broadcaster Mediaset has been ordered to repay millions of Euros after The European General Court ruled that it had received state aid relating to DTT and cable set-top box subsidies.

Mediaset immediately announced that it would appeal the decision at the European Court of Justice. The company said that the subsidies were provided direct to consumers and not to broadcasters, and that therefore Mediaset did not benefit from them. It noted that the tribunal did not make a connection between the subsidies and the launch of the Mediaset Premium pay-DTT offer, the success of which Mediaset said was due entirely to its own efforts.

Spurred by a complaint from News Corp-backed Sky Italia, the European Union ruled in 2007 that the subsidies offered by Italian authorities for set-tops must be repaid as they were not technology neutral and amounted to state aid. Berlusconi-family controlled Mediaset disputed the ruling. The overall amount of aid granted ran to over €200m although it is not clear how much Mediaset is liable to repay.

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