by Giada Zampano

ROME -(Dow Jones)- Italy's television market is seen growing at an average rate of 3.4% a year to reach EUR9.2 billion by 2012, as advertising spending picks up again and pay-TV continues to growth more than average thanks to an increased offer, a study published Monday shows.

According to the study by Rome-based research firm ItMedia consulting, competition between News Corp.'s (NWS) satellite unit Sky Italia and Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset SpA (MS.MI) will heat up, with the latter continuing to dominate TV advertising.

On the other hand, Sky Italia will maintain its leadership in the pay-TV sector, despite reducing its market share, with subscribers returning to growth after a difficult 2010.

News Corp.'s unit will also become an important player in the advertising market thanks to the increase in its free-to-air digital terrestrial offer.

News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire and the Wall Street Journal.

Considering the Italian TV market as a whole, Sky Italia and Mediaset will keep similar market shares and revenues of around EUR3 billion, the study said.

Advertising remains the market's main asset, though its growth is lower than that of pay-TV, which expected to expand 5.6% a year between 2010 and 2012.

Dow Jones, 8 November 2010
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