European pay TV group Sky is reportedly close to striking a deal with Viacom to acquire MTV Italia, extending its digital-terrestrial presence in the country’s via DTT channel 8, which broadcasts the youth-oriented service.
According to newspaper La Repubblica, Sky plans to relaunch channel 8 as a free-to-air service in August, possibly with sports content. Sky already operates two channels on the Italian digital-terrestrial platform – Cielo and news service Sky Tg24.
According to La Republicca, Sky is also seeking an exclusive programme supply deal with Viacom, ensuring that channels including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Comedy Central only appear on the pay TV platform’s line-up.
According to the newspaper, Sky will pay for the service in two tranches, with the second tranche dependent on the outcome of a lawsuit launched by local TV channel provider Telenorba on the numbering of channels on the DTT platform.
Separately, Sky’s Italian rival Mediaset last week signalled its intention to compete more aggressively in pay TV, launching a new Premium Sport channel in July and focusing its attention on its exclusive rights to Champions League football. Mediaset will also launch a new movie channel, Premium Cinema HD 2, with exclusive deals singed earlier in June with Warner Bros and NBCUniversal.