No change despite Sky court win over Mediaset

By Julian Clover
October 27, 2009 09.16 UK

A Milan court hearing into the refusal by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset to carry advertising from Sky Italia has ended with both sides claiming victory.

Ruling on a claim brought by Sky Italia’s parent company News Corp, the judge said the move by Mediaset’s advertising arm Publitalia Spa was anti-competitive, but added he could not force Mediaset to take advertisements from the satcaster.

In a statement, News Corp expressed its satisfaction over the ruling, brought under anti-trust rules contained in article 82 of the European Treaty and for unfair competition.

However, News Corp failed in its bid to restrict Mediaset in its promotion of the DTT pay service Mediaset Premium on its linear channels. “The court’s decision shows that Publitalia does not apply “prejudicial rejection” of advertising campaigns for Sky Italia in order to advantage the Mediaset Premium offer,” said Mediaset’s statement, adding that 3,107 advertisements for Sky Italia had been shown on its channels during 2009.

Competition between Sky Italia and Mediaset has intensified in recent months following the launch of the Mediaset-backed Tivù Sat and the withdrawal of its channels from the Sky Italia platform. Sky has countered with the launch of a USB stick that will take the channels’ terrestrial signals and include them in its EPG.