Italy is a major consumer of television. Italians are some of the most prolific television watchers in the European Union: a recent study found that Italians, on average, watch four hours and forty minutes of television per day, which is the most time spent of any western European country and almost a full hour more than second-place Spain. The two biggest providers of television in Italy are government-owned Rai, which is Italy’s national public broadcasting conglomerate, and Mediaset, the nation’s most popular commercial broadcaster. All of the six most popular channels are owned by one of those two providers – three of each. RAI’s are RAI 1, RA 2, and RAI 3, the combination of which account for a little more than 30% of Italy’s TV audience. Mediaset’s are Canale 5, Italia 1, and Rete 4, which in combination account for a further 20% of Italy’s audience, meaning that these six channels owned by these two broadcasters cover 50% of all television watched in Italy.
Italy’s daily print newspapers are unique in western Europe in that they are not, and have never been, popular: There are 88 newspapers in Italy, and they circulate at a daily rate of 121 readers per 1,000 citizens, an even lower rate than France’s 190 per 1,000. Regional newspapers are more popular than national newspapers, making it difficult for any paper to be vastly more popular than the rest. Notably, however, three of the most popular newspapers are all Milan-region papers: Corriere della Sera (general news), La Gazetto dello Sport (sports news), and Il Sole 24 Ore (business news) are all distributed in Milan and circulate to a combined total of almost 750,000 readers per day. Italian newspapers in general follow this model of being fragmented across specialized topics.
Radio is fairly popular in Italy overall, but notably extremely popular with Italian youth (ages 15-24): a recent study showed that 92.9% of Italians between these ages tuned into the radio every day, tied for the most of any European country along with Austria. As with television, stations broadcast by RAI and Mediaset tend to be the most popular. Some examples of these are R101, Radio 105 Network, and Virgin Radio Italia, all of which belong to Mediaset. Elemedia and Gruppo Radio Italia are also major providers of Italian commercial radio. Almost all the most popular stations in Italy are music stations.
Broadband access is less widespread in Italy compared to most other European countries, and access varies by region. Urban centres are much more likely to have access to broadband internet than rural areas, which tend to be stuck with dial-up or ISDN access. Italy, in general, is not a large internet consumer relative to the rest of Europe: fewer than 50% of Italian households (about 48%) have access to the internet (compare to France where 62% of households have internet access), and only about 61% of the population accesses the internet regularly. The most popular websites in Italy are almost all international sites, with Google, YouTube, and Facebook being the most popular. The only Italian site that appears in the ten most popular websites is Republicca, an online news source.
Out of Home Media
Out of home media is not an especially large industry in Italy – it is forecast to be worth about 200 million dollars (USD) by the year 2020, whereas, by comparison, the UK’s out of home industry is already worth over a billion pounds.
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