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By | August 1, 2001

      The July 19 launch of a new interactive service complementing RaiSat’s cooking channel Gambero Rosso forms part of RAI’s strategy to boost its presence in the digital TV sector.

      This strategy will also see the launch of an additional seven thematic channels produced by RAI’s multichannel unit RaiSat. The initiative should be seen as part of a wider initiative that includes the recent launch of a number of initiatives by the Italian public broadcaster (from RaiSat to RaiNet and RaiClick), in anticipatuon of a new set of detailed regulations for the pay-TV sector by the Telecommunications Authority.

      Speaking to Interspace, Michele Frosi, head of RAI’s digital division, underlined that the only certain thing is the acceleration of investments in order to recuperate time lost. “In regards to satellite – says Frosi we have made the choice of cutting where possible signal distribution costs, extending the offer in order to incentivise the switchover from analogue to digital technology”.

      The seven new thematic TV channels (Gambero Rosso, Art, Show, Album, Fiction, Ragazzi and Cinema) joining the existing seven RaiSat channels which are offered as part of the Tele+ Basic pay-TV package. Interspace has learnt that more information regarding the new services will be revealed at a press conference to be held by RaiSat in October.

      Meanwhile, RAI’s main rival on the terrestrial TV front, commercial broadcaster Mediaset, is planning to launch a dedicated sports TV channel that will be transmitted via satellite. Mediasport Sat (the probable name for the new service) will in fact rival RAI’s own Rai Sport Satellite which is available via the Eutelsat Hot Bird. Taking in account the fact that RAI’s channel is transmitted in the clear, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Mediasport Sat may be available to all dish owners without a subscription.

      • Spanish police have broken up an international band of digital TV hackers in the Canary Islands. Although headquartered in the Canaries, the group was also operating from Hungary, Russia, the UK and Estonia. 14 people were arrested and three laboratories were put out of action.

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