What was forecast as a battle of the giants in Italians’ favourite TV subject material saw the 60th edition of the Sanremo Song Festival on RaiUno easily beat off the competition reaching a massive 38.5% of audience share, according to Auditel figures (source bilink.it ).
High audiences were expected for this week’s edition of political debate show Ballarò on RaiTre with man of the moment Guido Bertolaso as guest, which obtained a 10.5% share in the same time slot. Champions League big match Milan vs Manchester Utd. also fared well on Sky Sport although was hardly competition for the Song Festival which usually does well on its opening night with all the competing songs and artists on display. There was little say in the matter for Berlusconi’s Mediaset channels with yet another repeat of Notting Hill on Canale 5 and little else.
Italian TV channels are basically divided bewteen the three State channels of RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana) which obtains both public funding and advertising revenues, and the Berlusconi family’s private Mediaset group of ReteQuattro, Canale 5, and Italia Uno. Murdoch’s Sky empire also fares well in Italy with Sky Italia, which began in 2003. As a ‘third way’ in Italian TV ‘La 7’ offers a valid alternative, and like like MTV Italy, is partly owned by Telecom Italia. A miriad of local and micro-channels follow on.