LONDON, June 7 Sky Italia, part of Rupert
Murdoch's News Corp, has bought the Italian live rights
to Formula One races from next year, gaining the upper hand over
state broadcaster RAI in a new agreement that blends pay and
free-to-air TV coverage.
Sky Italia will show every race live, while a second,
free-to-air, broadcaster will have live rights to only around
half of the races and will show the remainder with a time delay.
Races are currently shown live on RAI.
The agreement appears to be modelled on a deal that started
in Britain this year.
Pay TV operator BSkyB, in which News Corp is the
largest shareholder, shows all 20 races live in Britain, while
the publicly funded BBC screens 10 races live and
extended highlights of the others.
Formula One is seeking to find a balance between striking
lucrative television deals and the sponsors' desire to reach the
largest possible TV audience. The global motor racing business
has put plans for a stock market listing on hold because of
"We have worked with Sky Italia in the past and I have no
doubts about their production standards," Formula One commercial
head Bernie Ecclestone said in a statement issued by the Italian
broadcaster. "We have a similar agreement in Britain that is
working very well," he added.
Sky Italia said it had bought the live rights for all
platforms including web, tablet, smartphone and IPTV (Internet
TV). The national broadcaster who would acquire a share of the
rights would be agreed between Sky and Formula One, it added.
(Reporting by Keith Weir)