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Mediaset S.p.A.
FormerlyMediaset S.r.l. (1993-1994)
Mediaset N.V. (2021)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryMass media
Founded10 February 1980; 43 years ago (1980-02-10)
(Current iteration: 2019)
FounderSilvio Berlusconi
HeadquartersCologno Monzese, Milan, Italy
Key people
Pier Silvio Berlusconi (CEO)
ProductsFree-to-air and
television broadcasting
Television Production
RevenueIncrease €2.801 billion (2022)
Increase €471 million (2018)
Number of employees
Increase 4,858 (2022)
ParentMFE - MediaForEurope

Mediaset S.p.A., simply known as Mediaset is an Italian mass media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country. The company is controlled by the holding company MFE - MediaForEurope (the original iteration of Mediaset S.p.A., a.k.a. the Mediaset Group), which is majority-owned by Berlusconi family's Fininvest Group. Stemming from a business founded in 1987 by entrepreneur and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Mediaset competes primarily against the public broadcaster RAI, the privately owned La7 and (through Sky Group Limited) Comcast's Sky Italia.

Mediaset's headquarters are in Milan, Lombardy. Many of its studios are located in the Milano 2 area of Segrate, a municipality bordering Milan, where broadcasts of local station TeleMilano (now airing nationally as Mediaset's Canale 5) began in 1978. After merging with various local broadcasters to form the Canale 5 syndication, much production was moved to Cologno Monzese, where the infrastructure of the former Telealtomilanese was present. The company currently has three main television production centres, in Milan (Segrate, Cologno Monzese) and Rome.[1]


Starting in late 1970s

Silvio Berlusconi's involvement in television industry began in 1978, with Telemilano, a local Milan-based broadcaster that became Canale 5 two years later and began broadcasting nationally. Canale 5 was subsequently joined by Italia 1 (bought from the publishing group Rusconi in 1982) and Rete 4 (acquired from Arnoldo Mondadori Editore in 1984). Television area was called RTI and became established with three national analogue networks, supported by an advertising sales company, Publitalia '80, that exclusively collects advertising for all three channels, and two other companies, Videotime, that manages TV technology and production activities, and Elettronica Industriale that guarantees signal distribution through the management of the broadcasting infrastructure. In 1987, it bought out Italian's leading home video distributor Domovideo, in a seesaw contest with Vincenzo Romangoli.[2]

In the 1980s, Berlusconi's company Fininvest was contracted to operate TV Koper-Capodistria, a TV station which was intended to serve Italian-speaking audiences in the region of Istria, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, but was widely available in Italy through cable systems. Under Fininvest's control, the station mainly operated as a sports channel. This arrangement ended in 1990.[3][4]

In 1990, Silvio Berlusconi Communications [it] entered into a partnership with DIC Enterprises and having SBC subsidiary Reteitalia S.p.A. [it] and Spanish TV channel Telecinco (which SBC held a stake) to co-produce shows,[5] a relationship that lasted until 1994.


In November 2021, Mediaset announced a major restructuring, under which it would form a new parent company, MFE – MediaForEurope N.V., which would be domiciled in the Netherlands.[6]


Premium-tier channels

Main article: Mediaset Premium

Channel LCN on DVB-T LCN on Sky Launched Closed Description
Premium Action 459 1 April 2013 10 January 2022 Television series
Premium Action HD 125 23 June 2015
Premium Crime 503 1 July 2011
Premium Crime HD 10 23 June 2015
Premium Stories 462
Premium Stories HD 14 4 June 2018
Premium Cinema 1 463 1 July 2020 Films
Premium Cinema 1 HD 313
Premium Cinema 1 +24 HD 314
Premium Cinema 2 464
Premium Cinema 2 HD 315
Premium Cinema 3 465
Premium Cinema 3 HD 316

Streaming service

International service


A 2019 study in The American Economic Review examined the impact of Mediaset on Italy during its rollout in the 1980s. The study compared voting habits of people who grew up in towns and regions that got early access to Mediaset against ones that only got late access to Mediaset. The study noted that Mediaset's programming, especially during the 80s & 90s, was far more slanted toward entertainment and contained far less news and educational content than its competitor, the RAI. It also concluded that "individuals with early access to Mediaset all-entertainment content were more likely to vote for Berlusconi's party in 1994, when he first ran for office... we find that individuals exposed to entertainment TV as children were less cognitively sophisticated and civic-minded as adults, and ultimately more vulnerable to Berlusconi's populist rhetoric."[7] The study said the effect included populist parties in general that offered simple slogans and easy cure-alls, including non-Berlusconi populist parties such as the Five Star Movement.[8]


Europa 7

In January 2008, the European Court of Justice ruled that the TV frequencies used by Mediaset to broadcast Rete 4 were shared out unfairly. They should have been given to Europa 7, a competitor channel, the judges maintain, and Rete 4 should be broadcast via satellite instead. Although the Italian Council of State, the highest court on administrative matters, has confirmed that the Italian government should abide by this European ruling, Rete 4 continues its operation on analog frequencies and on DVB-T.[9]


On 30 July 2008, Mediaset filed a lawsuit against Google for €500 million (US$779 million) charging copyright infringement. The company stated that 325 hours worth of material was uploaded to YouTube and the result was the loss of 315,672 viewing days and ad revenue.[10][11]

Sky Italia

On 16 September 2009, Sky Italia (owned by the original News Corporation at the time) filed a lawsuit to the Court of Milan, Italy, against Reti Televisive Italiane and Publitalia '80 for a violation of Article 82 of European Treaty that regulates free economic competition between companies, in particular for refusing to allow Sky Italia to purchase advertising on the three main Mediaset television channels (Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4),[12] exercising Article 700 of the Italian Civil Procedural Code who permit to require an urgent action.[13] Mediaset has rejected the charge of antitrust violations, stating that in 2009 it had broadcast Sky Italia commercials 3107 times on its channels, whereas Sky Italia has always refused to broadcast Mediaset commercials.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "Offices". Mediaset. Archived from the original on 21 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  2. ^ "Berlusconi Buys Italian Distributor". Variety. 29 April 1987. pp. 39–40.
  3. ^ Bartolj, Jaka (30 April 2006). "The Olive Grove Revolution". Transdiffusion. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  4. ^ "Chi siamo" (in Italian). Radiotelevizija Slovenija. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  5. ^ "DiC Enterprises gets animated with new tour" (PDF). Broadcasting. 14 May 1990. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 October 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Mediaset becomes MFE-MediaForEurope". Digital TV Europe. 26 November 2021. Archived from the original on 15 February 2022. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  7. ^ Tesei, Andrea; Pinotti, Paolo; Durante, Ruben (2019). "The Political Legacy of Entertainment TV". American Economic Review. 109 (7): 2497–2530. doi:10.1257/aer.20150958. hdl:10419/130776. ISSN 0002-8282.
  8. ^ "How trashy TV made children dumber and enabled a wave of populist leaders". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 21 July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  9. ^ Fonte, Giuseppe (31 May 2008). "Italy court rejects Mediaset appeal to EU ruling". Reuters. Archived from the original on 13 September 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  10. ^ Lawson, Stephen (30 July 2008). "Mediaset Files EUR500 Million Suit Vs Google's YouTube". IDG. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Italian Media Company Sues YouTube". Dow Jones Newswires. 30 July 2008. Archived from the original on 8 September 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  12. ^ "News Corporation's Sky Italia Files Lawsuit Against Mediaset Companies For Antitrust Violations" (Press release). News Corporation. 16 September 2009. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  13. ^ "Sky porta Mediaset in tribunale". Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian). 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
  14. ^ "Mediaset respinge accuse infondate del concorrente SKY". Mediaset Group press release. 16 September 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2009.