Italian Watchdog Fines Ratings Firm 1.8m Euros
Italy’s competition watchdog the Antitrust Authority has fined TV ratings agency Auditel EUR 1.8 million ($2.3m) for abusing its ‘monopoly position’ and using ‘anticompetitive’ practices, following a complaint made by Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcaster Sky Italia.
Milan-based Auditel, which is led by CEO Walter Pancini (pictured), collects viewing data from a panel of 5,200 Italian families (roughly 14,000 individuals) through AGB Italia’s TVM4 peoplemeters.
Sky Italia asserted that Auditel had favoured rival broadcasters RAI and Mediaset - which together control nearly 60% of the marketplace - by ‘mis-measuring’ the popularity of its programmes and making its audiences appear smaller, thus damaging its ad revenue.
RAI is the Italian state broadcaster and Mediaset is owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Both are Auditel shareholders, whereas Sky Italia does not hold shares in the firm.
Earlier this month, Sky Italia called for a debate on TV audience measurement in Italy, after Auditel blamed ‘technical difficulties’ for delays in monitoring Sky Italia’s programmes, because they are broadcast by satellite instead of the terrestrial signals used by RAI and Mediaset.
Web site: www.auditel.it .