Italian broadcaster Mediaset is planning to relaunch its TV on-demand online offering in 2018.

Mediaset Play will offer free access to all programming aired by the broadcaster’s three flagship TV channels (Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4) with viewers able to pause and restart them to watch from the beginning. Access to the service will be via the remote control of the TV set, with no decoder or satellite dish required.

In addition, Mediaset Play will include the live a TV blogging function, enabling viewers to be updated on topics that interest them through notifications, chat bots to answer questions (i.e. weather updates), and real-time news.

The vice president and CEO of Mediaset, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, admits that they expect little or no growth of the pay-TV market, adding that he sees a future in pay-TV offer based on OTT channels. However, he pointed out that the perspectives of the pay-TV market are closely linked to sports events that cost a lot.

Commenting on the failed deal for the acquisition of pay-TV unit Mediaset Premium by Vivendi, he said that it had left the market, not only for the economic damage (estimated at €350 million), but also because of the difficulty of closing strategically important agreements.

Berlusconi also announced that Mediaset has completed the closing for the acquisition of DTT channel 20 and that a new programme schedule will be launched this autumn.

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By Expat