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Fox Italy to launch Fox Retro

News Corp’s Fox Channels Italy is expanding its portfolio of networks with the launch of Fox Retro, taking the group’s offering to 13 channels.

Fox Retro will air programming from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s such as Starsky & Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Different Strokes, Mork and Mindy and Baywatch.

Other channels in the company’s Italian bouquet include Fox Crime and Fox Life, which have been exported to more than 37 countries. A similar worldwide rollout is also expected for Fox Retro.

“Fox Channels Italy prides itself on producing top quality channels with strong, well positioned brands that engage and connect with viewers”, said Diego Londono, president of Fox Channels Italy. “Fox Retro definitely delivers on this mission, as well as on Sky’s commitment to give Italians the best quality and choice in their television offer.”

The channel launches follow news that Italy’s public broadcaster Rai and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset are set to launch their new DTH platform at the end of the week, and could be part of a bid to shore up News Corp’s position in the country.

The free-to-air satellite platform, TivuSat, will initially carry 22 channels, both Italian and international. It is set to launch on July 31. RAI and Mediaset will each own 48.25% of the venture with the 3.5% balance taken by Telecom Italia.

Both broadcasters are also said to be considering bringing their encryption deal with News Corp-owned Sky Italia to a close, which would set TivuSat in direct competition with it.

Last week Sky Italia announced it would boost its movie offering with a new channel and high definition transmissions, in a bid to offset the possibility of a pull-out of both Mediaset and Rai’s channels from its service.


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