In his latest book about advertising, Frenemies, American media critic Ken Auletta stated that "mass audience is rare." This could well be the case in the U.S., but it is not true in Italy where Festival di Sanremo, a televised singing competition, garnered n million viewers with a 50.42 percent share, and the police series Inspector Montalbano also reached 11 million people, with a 42.45 share. In addition, a football (soccer) match between Juventus (Turin) and Madrid topped all with 13 million viewers and a 54.9 share. Over in Italy, linear TV is alive and well.
"Linear FTA is still very strong since the majority of the Italian population is reluctant to pay for TV content," said Twentieth Century Fox TV's Cristina Sala, who is based in Milan. "Despite this, pay-TV platforms, such as Sky Italia, still perform successfully," she added.
Sala also said that "SVoD penetration in Italy is below the European average for a number of reasons, including the fact that fiber optics are mainly present in bigger cities and because Smart TVs have still not been broadly adopted by the Italian population. Additionally, the Italian birth rate has fallen to an all-time low. This has caused a lower demand for new technologies."
Simone D'Amelio Bonelli, who's content director for A+E Networks Italia, gave the point of view of a TV network, saying that, "the 25 million households served [by linear television] have a commercial value for the advertising sales market even if, in the last couple of years, it has become more difficult to reach significant audience shares in a very crowded marketplace."
To Micheline Azoury of Rome-based producer and distributor of children's TV fare Mondo TV Group, "Italian families are still traditional and they try to keep their kids watching linear TV --not through a tablet. [As such], the classic TV set at home is still doing well in Italy. And it's not only in Italy, but in many other countries where the traditional way of watching TV for kids is still mainly through the traditional TV."
Despite this line of thinking, Azoury also indicated that "the kids' content offered on the Italian market is crowded and complicated at the same time." The fact that "the country is also crowded with toys and licensing and merchandising related to IP in the form of animated series keeps linear TV offerings very competitive between various broadcasters," she said.
"There are important reasons for the success of linear television," commented...