Background information

Television reigns in the Italian media realm, as the printed press is suffering its worst crisis ever and the Internet has not gained yet the status of a fully reliable source of information. Though newspapers are not very popular in Italy, compared to most EU countries, major national dailies, like Il Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica, are very influential and capable to set the agenda for the politics, as well as for the economic and financial community. Readership has further declined, along with advertising income, over the last decade, as Internet gained steam as a major source of information even if it is still regarded as home for opinions and rumors rather than actual news. For most Italians actual news are those they watch on television: Berlusconi’s Mediaset and State’s RAI, with three national channels each, the Italian version of Murdoch satellite broadcaster Sky and La7, small but influential, owned by Telecom Italia. The most important newspapers are controlled by interests from outside the publishing world: Il Corriere della Sera publishing group RCS is under the command of a shareholders’ pact including major banks and industrial concerns, La Repubblica is owned by the entrepreneur Carlo De Benedetti, the leading financial newspaper Sole 24 Ore belongs to the employers’ Association Confindustria, Turin La Stampa is part of Fiat, while real estate and construction group Caltagirone has Rome’s Il Messaggero. Former PM Silvio Berlusconi, in addition to his television empire, controls Milan’s Il Giornale along with several magazines. The number two in financial information after Il Sole is the Class group, founded and owned by journalist turned publisher Paolo Panerai, which is the Italian partner of Dow Jones. Also the local media landscape is dominated by the same big groups which own the leading national papers. De Benedetti’s Repubblica leads by far and large margins, with some 15 dailies, followed by RCS and Caltagirone. The presence of several newswire services is also peculiar of the Italian information market: in addition to national agency ANSA we have AGI, owned by oil group Eni, Radiocor, part of Il Sole, TM News, ADN Kronos, just to mention the main players. Often an agency take is just a mean to send a message to a political, economic or financial counterpart rather than the filing of a news aimed at the general public. The Internet has grown as a major source of information as in several other developed countries but has not gained yet the status of a fully reliable media as far as politics, economy and finance are concerned. Only a printed news has the status needed to be mentioned in a corporate daily press review. In fact, in Italy there is a media to every purpose. Want to talk to the consumers and voters general public? RAI and Berlusconi televisions are there. Moving a rumor or a gossip story around? The popular website Dagospia, modeled on the Drudge Report of the US, would certainly be your preferred choice. Sending a message to politicians, regulators, competitors? A newswire take, possibly by Ansa, fits your aim. Willing to show up as being part of the establishment or as an important member of the business community? An article, possibly accompanied with a picture of you, on Il Corriere, Il Sole or La Repubblica would be just perfect.

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