Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has proposed new media rules would forbid the sale of pay-per-view pornography and other adult
programming during daylight hours, a measure that would hurt revenue at News Corp.'s Sky Italia.
Rupert Murdoch's Italian satellite unit is the country's largest pay-television service and has five pay-per-view channels with adult content during the day and 22 at night. Sky Italia had 45 million euros ($63 million) in sales from porn
programming, half of all pay-per-view revenue, according to a report in October in L'Espresso magazine.
Berlusconi is the country's biggest media owner and controls Mediaset, the largest private TV broadcaster and a Sky Italia competitor.
This rule goes against personal freedom, Marco Crispino, chief executive officer of pay-per-view sports and porn broadcaster Conto TV, said in an interview. The Cascina, Italy-based company's porn channel is going rather well, but if
they block transmission it would hurt us economically. We made investments, bought broadcast rights, Crispino said.
Undersecretary of Communications Paolo Romani promised to change the regulations, Luca Barbareschi, a lawmaker in Berlusconi's People of Liberty party, said late yesterday in an interview: They need to be changed because they are a folly, Barbareschi, who is also a film star, said.
We can't make rules that favor just one person, he said, referring to Berlusconi.
The regulations would lower the number of advertising minutes per hour allowed on pay-TV channels to 12 from 18 by 2012, while Mediaset's free-to-air broadcast channels will be able to increase advertising minutes to 12 from 6 per hour. That would
also limit revenue at Sky Italia.
Update: Media regulator criticises censorship bill
27th January 2010. Based on article
An Italian government decree seeking to regulate video content on television and the Internet drew criticism from the head of Italy's telecommunications regulator, media reports said.
The new regulations, set for approval on February 5, would require satellite TV channels to obscure pornographic content during daytime and may require websites hosting video to seek a licence from the communication ministry.
The pre-emptive authorisation (of web video) ends up being a bureaucratic filter, said Corrado Calabro, head of the telecommunications authority.
The new rules have already incensed opposition and telecoms industry figures.
Former communications minister Paolo Gentiloni, an opposition politician, called it a real scandal, peppered with gifts to Mediaset , the television group owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, by hobbling suppliers of
alternative entertainment at a time when Mediaset's audiences are shrinking.
Google, owner of YouTube, has expressed concern over the decree, saying it amounts to censorship and would subject the video-sharing website to the same responsibilities as a television network newscast.