Italy: Tivùsat passes a million in two years
Italian free-to-air DTH service Tivùsat launched, amid some controversy, in July 2009. By July 2011 it had signed up just over a million (1,037,061) smartcards to enable reception of its package of free-to-air channels – up from 750,000 at the end of 2010 and 409,000 at the end of June 2010.
Tivùsat is owned by Italy’s three main terrestrial broadcasters – RAI, Mediaset and Telecom Italia Media. In the run-up to the platform’s launch, RAI pulled its Raisat package of six thematic channels off of the Sky Italia platform and at one point threatened to do the same with its main channels (Rai Uno, Duo and Tre).

The free-to-air satellite platform was designed as a complementary platform to the Tivù free to-air digital-terrestrial television service, backed by the same shareholders, and has targeted the 5-10% of the Italian population that is unable to receive DTT signals.

Some of the potential appeal of Tivùsat was sapped by Sky Italia’s decision to make Italy’s free-to-air DTT channels available to its million pay-TV customers via a USB key that can be plugged into Sky Italia HD set-top boxes.

Augusto Preta, director of Italian consultancy firm ITMedia Consulting, expected Tivùsat numbers to reach 1.2 million by the end of this year and to rise to 1.5 million by the end of 2012 (by when digital switchover is due to be completed) and 1.8 million a year later.

New Media Markets, 03/11/2011

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