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Television in Italy was "introduced in 1939, when the first experimental broadcasts began. However, this lasted for a very short time: when fascist Italy entered World War II in 1940 all transmissions were interrupted, and were resumed in earnest only nine years after the end of the conflict, on January 3, 1954.

There are two main national television organisations responsible for most viewing: state-owned "RAI, accounting for 37% of the total viewing figures in May 2014[1], and "Mediaset, a commercial network which holds about 33%[1]. The third largest player, the Italian branch of "Discovery Communications, had a viewing share of 5.8%[1]. Apart from these three free to air companies, "News Corporation's satellite pay TV platform "Sky Italia is increasing in viewing and shares.["citation needed]

According to the BBC, the Italian television industry is widely considered both inside and outside the country to be overtly "politicized[2]. Unlike the "BBC which is controlled by an "independent trust, the public broadcaster RAI is under direct control of the parliament. According to a December 2008 poll, only 24% of Italians trusted television "news programmes, compared unfavourably to the British rate of 38%, making Italy one of only three examined countries where online sources are considered more reliable than television ones for information[3].


Television providers[edit]

Digital terrestrial television[edit]

"Digital terrestrial television technology is expanding rapidly and now every major network in Italy,—including RAI, Mediaset and Cairo Communication—transmits in "DVB-T format, while continuing analog broadcast until the end of the transition, originally set by law to December 31, 2006 but later pushed back to the end of 2012[4].

The "Berlusconi II Cabinet started promoting the digital format in December 2003 by granting a public financial contribution for the purchase of a "MHP digital television decoder. Starting from January 2005 Mediaset and Telecom Italia Media started offering pay TV services through a prepaid smartcard, including football games, movies and TV shows. On February 2006, during the 2006 Winter Olympics held in "Turin, RAI experimentally broadcast a number of sport events using a "1080i signal and "H264 coding. The HD signal has been transmitted over the Turin area, using DVB-T hierarchical modulation, and only specially crafted decoders have been able to receive this signal: they were placed in strategical points in the town.

During the UEFA Euro 2008 and the 2008 Summer Olympics, RAI started experimental high definition broadcasting on Rai Test HD, available only in Turin, Milan, Rome, Sardinia and Aosta Valley, continuing with the "2008 UCI Road World Championships and a few matches of the UEFA Champions League. In July 2008 the "European Commission's directorate for competition expressed concerns on whether the actions taken by the current Italian government would be able to alter the current status of duopoly in the broadcasting market held by RAI and Mediaset[5]. Beginning October 31, 2008, in the first "region of Italy planned to interrupt analog transmission, "Sardinia, television networks broadcast multiplexes only in digital format. Licence fee payers from the region were entitled to a 50 euros discount off the price of a digital television decoder or a new, digital-compatible TV set[6].

Satellite television[edit]

Italy has had digital satellite broadcasts since the 1990s, with the launch of "Stream TV and TELE+. In 2003 these merged into "Sky Italia, today this pay TV platform is broadcasting from "Hot Bird satellites. HDTV regular services started in June 2006 under the name "Sky HD, with the broadcasting of the "2006 FIFA World Cup in High Definition. Additional movie and sport channels are planned for the service. "Tivù Sat, a Free Satellite Service similar to the UK version "Freesat, was launched in June 2009, ensuring access to national television channels from digital terrestrial television networks. Shareholders include "Mediaset, Telecom Italia Media and the State-owned company Rai[7].

Pay television[edit]

Current providers[edit]

Defunct providers[edit]

Cable television[edit]

Italy currently has the lowest percentage (less than 1%) of transmissions from cable television of almost all of the world's "developed countries.["citation needed]

In the 1960s the public television network RAI was a monopoly and the only network authorized to broadcast in Italy. Giuseppe Sacchi, a former RAI editor, launched on April 21, 1971 the first "free" television station, called Telebiella and based in "Biella. It started to broadcast on April 6, 1972, devoted primarily to news and information. Immediately the government led by "Giulio Andreotti forced Sacchi to dismantle Telebiella. Later a new law was issued to regulate and allow cable broadcasting, although with tight limitations[8]: only one cable system for every city and only one TV channel for each system. Cable television remained undeveloped for many years, with the exception of a few amateur projects. In the 1990s, first "Telecom Italia and then "Fastweb created "optical fiber networks and launched their "IPTV offers (however associated with "Sky Italia or "Mediaset Premium subscriptions). IPTV was the only service to offer "video on demand up until 2009.

List of nationwide television stations[edit]

Most important all national free-to-view channels[edit]

All channels broadcast 24 hours, are in "16:9 SDTV format and also FTA on digital satellite. The channels from 10 to 19 are made available for Italian regional television.


""Rai - Logo 2016.svg

Rai is "Italy's national "public broadcasting company, owned by the "Ministry of Economy and Finance. Rai's broadcasts are also received in neighboring countries, including "Albania, "Croatia, "Malta, "Monaco, "Montenegro, "San Marino, "Slovenia, "Vatican City, and southern "Switzerland. It's one of the 23 founding broadcasting organizations of the "European Broadcasting Union.

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Rai 1 1 1954 generalist (HD on channel 501, FTV satellite)
"Rai 2 2 1961 generalist (HD on channel 502, FTV satellite)
"Rai 3 3 1979 generalist (HD on channel 503, FTV satellite)
"Rai 4 21 2008 TV series, movies and entertainment for young audience (HD on channel 521 selected regions only, FTV satellite nationally)
"Rai 5 23 2010 cultured-oriented entertainment, documentaries (HD on FTV satellite)
"Rai Movie 24 1999 movies (HD on FTV satellite)
"Rai Premium 25 2010 best RAI's past programs (HD on channel 525 selected regions only, FTV satellite nationally)
"Rai Gulp 42 2007 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for teens
"Rai Yoyo 43 2006 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for kids
"Rai News 24 48 1999 all news
"Rai Storia 54 2009 documentaries focused on history
"Rai Sport + HD 57 2017 live sports and news in HD
"Rai Sport 58 2010 live sports and news
"Rai Scuola 146 2009 educational


Mediaset is the largest "commercial broadcaster in the country. The group competes primarily against the "public broadcaster and market leader "RAI. Due to their proximity to (or encirclement by) Italy, "Albania, "Croatia, "Switzerland, "Malta, "San Marino, the "Vatican City and "Slovenia also receive Mediaset broadcasts. In addition to its domestic television interests, Mediaset also operates a series of "news, "entertainment and "sport websites; holds 50.1% of the "Spanish broadcasting firm "Mediaset España Comunicación; owns the film production company Medusa Film; and heads a "consortium which owns the "television production house "Endemol.

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Rete 4 4 1982 generalist (HD on channel 504)
"Canale 5 5 1980 generalist (HD on channel 505)
"Italia 1 6 1982 generalist (HD on channel 506)
20 Mediaset 20 2018
"Iris 22 2007 TV series, movies and cultured-oriented programs
"La 5 30 2010 TV series, movies, entertainment, reality shows, female-oriented channel
"Mediaset Extra 34 2010 past and current cult shows from Mediaset channels
Focus 35 2018 documentaries
"Top Crime 39 2013 TV series and movies on the world of crime
"TgCom24 51 2011 all news
"Italia 2 120 2011 TV series, movies, entertainment, reality shows, male-oriented channel

"Cairo Communication[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"La7 7 2001 generalist (HD on channel 507)
La7d 29 2010 women infotainment, TV series, movies, light entertainment, La7 reruns (HD on channel 529)

"Sky Italia[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"TV8 8 2016 generalist
"Cielo 26 2009 generalist
"Sky TG24 50 2015 24h all news

"Discovery Italia[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Nove 9 2016 generalist
"Real Time 31 2005 lifestyle (HD on "Sky Italia, +1 on FTA satellite)
Food Network 33 2017 Cuisine
Giallo 38 2012 TV series and crime movies
"K2 41 2009 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for teens
"Frisbee 44 2010 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for kids
"DMAX 52 2011 factual-entertainment for the male audience (HD on "Sky Italia, +1 on FTA satellite)
"Motor Trend 56 2018 motor

"Viacom Italia[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
Paramount Channel 27 2016 movies
Spike 49 2017 factual entertainment
"VH1 67 2016 24-hour music

"Turner Broadcasting System[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Boing 40 2004 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for teens
Cartoonito 46 2011 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for kids

Television Broadcasting System[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
Retecapri 66 1982 generalist (HD on channel 566)
Retecapri 2 149 2012 generalist

"Sony Pictures Television[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Pop 45 2017 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for boys and girls
"Cine Sony 55 2017 TV series and movies

"De Agostini[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Super! 47 2010 cartoons, TV series and entertainment programs for teens
Alpha 59 2017 male-oriented programmation

Al.Ma Media[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Alice 221 2000 entertainment focused on food and cooking
Marcopolo 222-224 1997 entertainment focused on travel
CaseDesignStili 223 2017 entertainment focused on house living

"Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"Deejay TV 69 2018 music

"RTL 102.5[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"RTL 102.5 TV 36 2000 radio broadcast and news
Radiofreccia 258 2016 rock music
Radio Zeta 266 2016 Italian music

"Liberty Interactive[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
"QVC 32 2010 home shopping

Home Shopping Europe[edit]

Channel LCN on "DVB-T Launched Description
HSE24 37 2011 home shopping

Other national channels[edit]


  • TV2000 (28)


  • Radio Italia TV (70)
  • R101 TV (167)


  • SuperTennis (64)
  • Sportitalia (153)


  • Padre Pio TV (145), religious channel

Network of local televisions[edit]

Foreign Channels[edit]

Lower channels, teleshopping channel, lower network and local channels[edit]

Digital satellite only (free to air)[edit]



News and politics

Sports and betting

Foreign channels[edit]

Former channels[edit]

Most viewed channels[edit]

The Auditel measures television ratings in Italy. The two most watched channels are still "Rai 1 and "Canale 5 which together share 33% of the audience. Following these in terms of ratings are "Rai 3 and "Rai 2 with 14% of total share and finally a third group of stations made up of "Italia 1 and "Rete 4 which together reach 12% of TV ratings. Apart from the seventh ex analogue television "La7 with a market share of 4%. All the six RAI and Mediaset "generalist channels had a slightly lower daily audience in 2013 compared with previous years, while "News Corporation's pay TV platform called "Sky Italia (with its channels like "Fox, "Fox Crime, "Sky Cinema and "Sky Sport), nationwide channel "La7 owned by "Cairo Communication and several new free-to-air digital stations (like "Giallo, "Rai 4, "Iris, "La5, "Real Time, "K2, "Rai Premium, "Top Crime, "Cielo, "DMAX) are increasing in ratings day by day.

Position Channel Launch date Owner 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
1 "Rai 1 1954 "RAI 22.86 22.99 22.33 21.80 20.63 19.86 18.1 18.3 17.84 17.43
2 "Canale 5 1980 "Mediaset 21.82 20.96 20.67 20.33 20.50 18.78 17.0 15.9 14.95 15.37
3 "Rai 3 1979 "RAI 9.11 9.31 9.06 9.07 8.46 7.75 8.5 7.7 7.38 6.73
4 "Rai 2 1961 "RAI 11.29 11.27 10.38 10.60 8.90 9.02 8.3 7.6 6.77 6.62
5 "Italia 1 1982 "Mediaset 11.48 11.09 11.18 10.83 10.68 9.22 8.3 6.18 6.54 5.97
6 "Rete 4 1982 "Mediaset 8.63 8.22 8.68 8.28 7.47 6.79 6.7 5.42 5.03 4.89
7 "La7 2001 "Cairo Communication 2.71 3.02 2.97 3.08 3.18 3.06 3.82 3.68 3.76 3.26
8 "Real Time 2005 "Discovery Communications <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 1.09 1.4 1.53 1.52
9 "DMAX 2011 "Discovery Communications N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. <0.90 <0.90 1.32 1.40
10 "Rai Yoyo 2006 "RAI N.E. <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 1.34 1.38
11 "Iris 2007 "Mediaset N.E. N.E. <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 1.26 1.31 1.31
12 "Cielo 2009 "News Corporation N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 1.30
13 "Top Crime 2013 "Mediaset N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. N.E. 1.05 1.06
14 "Rai Premium 2003 "RAI <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 1.25 1.14 1.06
15 "Rai Movie 1999 "RAI <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 0.92 0.95 1.03
16 "Boing 2004 "Mediaset
"Turner Broadcasting System
<0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 1.05 0.99 <0.90 0.99
17 "Rai 4 2008 "RAI N.E. N.E. N.E. <0.90 <0.90 <0.90 0.98 1.1 0.96 0.92

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Sintesi Mensile 1A" (PDF). Auditel. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Country profile: Italy". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  3. ^ "Our new digital friend? We now trust online news as we trust TV and newspapers". TNS US. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  4. ^ "SWITCH OFF FOR 2012". 2006-09-01. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  5. ^ "EU wants Italy to clarify frequency distribution rules". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  6. ^ "Digitale Terrestre Parte in Sardegna lo switch-off" (in Italian). NonSoloCinema. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  7. ^ "RAI and Mediaset plan Italian freesat Broadband TV News". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  8. ^ "Legge 103/75 Nuove norme in materia di diffusione radiofonica e televisiva" (in Italian). "Agcom. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 


External links[edit]

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