IL SOLE 24 ORE LAUNCHES FINANCIAL TV CHANNEL
The Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore has officially launched a specialist business TV channel after a month’s trial. Known as Ventiquattrore.tv, the service – which has just secured 12 Italian financial institutions as new shareholders, each with a 1 per cent stake – is broadcast in clear MPEG-2 using the Skyplex system on Eutelsat’s Hot Bird 5, with Italy’s Telespazio responsible for the uplink. Thanks to an agreement with the terrestrial broadcaster Italia 3, 12 local TV stations throughout Italy will re-broadcast part of the channel’s programming.
Ventiquattrore.tv is produced in outsourcing by the Milan-based company Interactive, which is also responsible for the Milan Channel and the Italian feeds of Disney Channel and Eurosport. Its daily programme schedule includes 39 news bulletins and 13 updates from the stock markets, with the channel working in full synergy with the other companies in the group including the news agency Radiocor and Radio 24. An estimated E7.7 million has been invested in the new venture and the channel’s owners hope to reach break-even by 2002. The market has already reacted positively to Ventiquattrore.tv, with ad revenues already topping E1 million and looking likely to achieve the year-end target of E5.7 million.
Marco Tonchetti Provera, the president of Il Sole 24 Ore, revealed that there could be further changes to the shareholding structure linked to international expansion plans and that contacts are “already under way”. CEO Matteo Cascinari did not exclude the possibility of future encryption, adding that this will depend on the conditions of the Italian pay-TV market. Cascinari also said the introduction of home banking services is being mooted in co-operation with partners specialised in broadband distribution platforms and financial operators. Furthermore, he expressed interest in entering the broadband market – both satellite and terrestrial – with the aim of distributing content.