Telecom Italia Starts Internet TV Service With Murdoch’s Sky

Telecom Italia SpA, the country’s largest phone carrier, is starting a new Internet-TV service with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia SpA in a bid to lure broadband subscribers.

The product follows an agreement signed a year ago that’s seeking to give consumers an alternative to satellite TV. The service will allow subscribers with at least a 20 Megabit Internet connection to watch more than 150 channels over the Web with a library of about 2,500 on-demand shows and films, the companies said in a joint statement.

The offer includes fixed and mobile web-connections, voice and pay-TV content, and will cost 39 euros ($41.50) a month for the first year. For those who already have an Internet subscription, the price will start from 14 euros a month.

Telecom Italia Chief Executive Officer Marco Patuano, accelerating his efforts to revive the indebted former phone monopoly, is adding services in a bid to boost phone bills as competition hurts margins in Italy’s saturated market. Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc., which agreed to sell its pay-TV businesses in Italy and Germany for more than $9 billion last year, is seeking to attract customers who are unable to install a satellite dish because of local building restrictions.

“This agreement with Sky will be a crucial driver to boost Italy’s ultra-broadband networks and innovative services, the main focus of our business plan,” Patuano said at a presentation in Rome on Thursday.

Andrea Zappia, head of Sky Italia, said the agreement with Telecom Italia is “a strategic deal which allow us to widen our commercial services on all platforms.”

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