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  1. Technology
July 20, 1998

NEWS CORP IN DTV TALKS WITH TELECOM ITALIA

By CBR Staff Writer

Telecom Italia, the dominant Italian telecoms operator, has held preliminary discussions with News Corp about the possibility of UK pay TV firm BSkyB taking a 40% stake in an Italian digital TV joint venture. The venture, which as yet has no name, will supply programming to Telecom Italia’s Stream digital cable and satellite platform. The joint venture is 70% owned by Telecom Italia and 30% by with Italian state-owned broadcaster RAI, but Telecom Italia wants to reduce its stake to 30%. When Telecom Italia set up the joint venture in April 1998, the two companies said they would be looking for an international partner. A Telecom Italia spokesperson confirms that BSkyB is discussing taking an equity stake in the joint venture but stresses that talks are also being held with several other third parties and any new partner will need the backing of RAI. French broadcaster TF1 and Italian media company Cecchi Gori are also believed to have held talks about joining the venture which, according to TV International Daily, wants to take on more than one partner. Lehman Brothers analyst Carlo Campomagnani says that the joint venture is also talking to French digital TV operator Canal Plus which operates the rival Italian digital platform Tele+.

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