New chief for Mediaset Premium

Marco Leonardi

Marco Leonardi

Mediaset has named Marco Leonardi as the new CEO of its struggling pay TV unit, Mediaset Premium.

Leonardi, who is currently head of acquisition and sales rights at Mediaset, will replace Franco Ricci, who has decided to pursue new professional opportunities outside the group.

Mediaset said the appointment was to be seen as part of its strategy of making the Mediaset Premium offering ever-more innovative.

In addition to Leonardi, Luca Poloni, the media group’s head of procurement, will also join the Mediaset Premium board with responsibility for leading digital transformation.

Leonardi contributed to the launch of the pay TV unit in the role of content and marketing director.

Mediaset said in January that it was rethinking its pay TV strategy, making pay channels and content available to other operators and opening up its domestic digital-terrestrial pay TV platform to all third-party content players interested in a “quality pay” proposition.

Mediaset said it would “remain a non-sport channel publisher with a multi-platform distribution” and would “adopt an opportunistic approach to football rights”.

The future of Mediaset Premium remains uncertain. Mediaset is currently in the midst of a long-running legal dispute with French media giant Vivendi over the latter’s decision to pull out of an agreement to take over the loss-making unit, amidst press speculation that the pair could still strike deal.

Mediaset has reportedly also been in talks with pay TV rival Sky about an alternative deal that would see Sky take control of the service.

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