BBC World signs Italian distribution deal with Mediaset
LONDON - BBC World has signed a major agreement with Italian broadcasting company Mediaset to be part of its line-up of channels on Italy's new digital terrestrial television service, which launches in December.
The deal means that the BBC's commercially funded 24-hour news and information channel will be available free-to-air on digital terrestrial TV in Italy for the first time, adding to the 6m Italian households that can view BBC World via analogue and digital satellite.
Mediaset's multiplex, which includes a wide range of channels, will be available to around 50% of the Italian population from December 1.
Dr Patrick Cross, managing director of BBC World, said: "Everyone at BBC World is looking forward to a fruitful and productive partnership with Mediaset and we're very happy that even more Italian viewers will be able to enjoy our award-winning news bulletins and programming from December."
To watch digital terrestrial broadcasts, viewers require a TV equipped to receive digital or a set-top box, both of which can be purchased from retail stores. For the three-year period from 2003 to 2005, Mediaset has earmarked investments of €200m (£137.25m) for the spread of digital terrestrial technology in Italy.
Fedele Confalonieri, the chairman of Mediaset, added: "It's enormously satisfying for Mediaset to have signed such a significant agreement with BBC World. It brings together our strength among Italian viewers and an internationally renowned brand that is synonymous with quality. We believe that this will help Mediaset to achieve a decisive role in the development of digital terrestrial television in Italy."
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