UPDATE: 14.01.08 – Having now read more of the articles in Il Sole, I can now understand why the paper used the headline saying that ‘State TV without advertising would not work’. The article basically argues that just about all TV and Internet, is only possible due to advertising. Whilst this is partially true, I would still point out that the BBC does very well without ads, although the BBC does, cleverly, use other ways to generate finance – and, ads are shown on BBC world – although they seem to be very targeted and very slick.
One final thing is that thanks to the recent intervention of one Gentiloni, who introduced a law designed to cut down conflicts of interest (read Berlusconi and Mediaset), a Sarkozy approach to the funding of State TV cannot work in Italy. But, laws can be changed…and often are here. End of update.
Well, he appears to like the fact that the BBC, the UK’s state TV service, is advertising free. I read about this in Il Sole 24 Ore, although the front page leader’s headline had me rather confused – it read ‘Una tv pubblica senza spot alla fine dinventerà inutile’, which translated reads: ‘State TV without advertising will turn out to be useless’. Although the article under the headline did not actually reinforce this view. And nor did the main articles oddly enough, although I shall read them all again to see if I’ve missed something.
What have Sarkozy, and the BBC got to do with Italy, aside from the fact that both were reported in an Italian newspaper? Quite a lot, actually. You see, Italian TV has been under attack recently for its patent lack of decent quality programming. Which is, incidentally, something I go on about on this blog. Finally, it appears, the message is getting though. Not that my ravings will have had any influence I imagine. What the heck, at least I know I am not at all alone in my view that Italian TV is pretty appalling.
It would appear that the complaints of others here in Italy have finally started to stir a few into something close to action, hence the interest in Sarkozy’s ideas. If the French president gets his way, and ads disappear from French state TV, then Italy may even consider doing the same. ‘What about cash?’, you may be asking. Sarkozy has got this covered too, and his ideas are quite innovative. The guy is obviously rather more tech-savvy than Italy’s bunch of pensioner politicians.
What the spritely French young (ish) whipper-snapper of a politician is proposing is that TV funding is gleaned from a tax on mobile phones, Internet, and private TV stations. This tax will be infinitesimal according to him. Not a bad idea, if you ask me. I think I would happy pay another 50 Eurocents per minute of mobile conversation in return for ad free TV here. This innovative funding method would also appeal to the Italian government and their TV channels, because Italians are not the worlds most willing TV licence fee payers.
So, no ads, and plenty of cash, potentially. Next on the agenda is sorting out the quality, and Italian TV may even turn out to be a more worthy competitor to the World Wide Web. OK, this is very wishful thinking.
More waiting and seeing.