|Title||Digital switchover in Italy: an analysis of government policy 1996-2006|
From the early 1990s onwards, national governments of advanced industrialised countries have formulated and then started implementing action plans for digital switchover, the migration process from analogue to digital TV. This paper examines public policies on digital switchover in Italy, from their formulation under the centre-left governments (1996-2001) to their implementation under the centre-right governments led by Silvio Berlusconi (2001-2006). The analysis broadly corroborates what has been argued examining digital transition policies in a number of other industrialised countries, most notably the importance of domestic agendas in explaining governments’ motives behind the formulation and implementation of such policies. At the heart of the initiatives on digital switchover in Italy is the issue of competition in the terrestrial television market, historically characterised by the duopoly of Berlusconi’s Mediaset and state broadcaster RAI. Depending on the political orientation of the government in office, digital transition in Italy has primarily been about either breaking the RAI-Mediaset analogue-based duopoly or extending it into the digital future. The general underlying argument of the paper is that digital switchover in Italy offers a very interesting case to discuss the way domestic political and economic interests have shaped the introduction of a major new technology.
|Keywords||Italy, communications policy, digital television, political economy of communications, digital switchover|
|Conference||57th ICA Annual Conference ‘Creating Communication: Content, Control, Critique'|