Television in Italy was introduced in 1939, when the first experimental broadcasting began. However, this lasted for a very short time: when fascist Italy entered World War II in 1940 all the transmission were interrupted, and were resumed in earnest only nine years after the end of the conflict, in 1954. There are two main national television organisations responsible for most viewing: state-owned RAI Radiotelevisione italiana (with three generalist channels, two semi-generalist channels and nine thematic channels), funded by a yearly mandatory licence fee and Mediaset (owner of generalist stations Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4, eight thematic channels and a pay-tv with cinema, tv series, documentaries, sport and children channels), commercial network that also holds 50.1% of the Spanish broadcasting firm Mediaset España Comunicación and heads a consortium which owns the television production house Endemol. Currently La7 is considered as the third major network in Italy, it is owned by Telecom Italia Media, the media branch of the telephone company Telecom Italia, which also owns 51% of MTV Italia adn other TV and radio channels. While many other networks are also present, both nationally and locally, RAI and Mediaset together, with their six traditional ex analogue stations plus a number of new free to air digital channels, reach almost 70% of the TV ratings, as detailed further below. Apart from these three free to air companies, News Corporation's satellite pay tv platform Sky Italia is increasing in viewing and shares, reaching almost 10% of the tv ratings (in 2009 it was also allowed to enter the digital terrestrial market through free station Cielo).
As with all the other media of Italy, the Italian television industry is widely considered both inside and outside the country to be overtly politicized. The public broadcaster RAI is, unlike the BBC which is controlled by an independent trust, under direct control of the government. According to a December 2008 poll, only 24% of Italians trust television news programmes, compared unfavourably to the British rate of 38%, making Italy one of only three examined countries where online sources are considered more reliable than television ones for information.
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Famous quotes containing the words italy and/or television:
“Everything in Italy that is particularly elegant and grand ... borders upon insanity and absurdityor at least is reminiscent of childhood.”
—Alexander Herzen (18121870)
“It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.”
—Shirley Chisholm (b. 1924)