The two pay-television services on Italy's digital terrestrial platform are set to fight for rights to the country's top football division after its club decided to move to collective selling [...]
A key question is wether the change to collective selling will be accompanied by a move to sell exclusive rights to a single platform, which could create a bidding war that could benefit the clubs.
Under current deals, which started in August and run until 2010, each club sold rights to home matches to either Mediaset's DTT service Mediaset Premium or the rival CartapiĆ¹ LA7 from Telecom Italia Media.
In addition they signed separate deals with Sky Italia for live satellite rights.[...]
Sarah Simon, managing director of investment bank Morgan Stanley, said that collective selling by the Lega Calcio league made sense, because it was how football rights were allocated in most other European countries. But she warned that the company that failed to secure the rights could "disappear".
"The question for the pay DTT platform is who gets the rights and who disappears" she said.
Mediaset, which at present has most of the top clubs, would be favourite, Simon added:"Mediaset knows football is what its pay TV business hangs on".
Augusto Preta, general manager of ITMedia Consulting, said that football was the only reason consumers watched the DTT platform in Italy.
About 4.5 million Italian homes have digital terrestrial television, of which around three million take pay-per-view games from Mediaset and Telecom Italia Media. Sky Italia has 4.2 million subscribers[...]

New Media Markets, November 9, 2007

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