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Italian art and culture streamer ItsArt appoints Casali as CEO, targets int’l growth

Fledgling Italian art- and culture-focused streamer ItsArt has appointed a new CEO ahead of its expansion around Europe next month and a push into originals.

Guido Casali

Guido Casali has succeeded Giano Biagini, who oversaw the launch of the streaming service earlier this year.

Biagini has returned to his role as general director at cinema-focused transactional VoD service Chili, which owns a 49% stake in ItsArt, with the remaining 51% belonging to the Italian government’s investment bank CDP (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti).

ItsArt has also confirmed Giorgio Tacchia, founder and CEO of Chili, as ItsArt’s new president, taking over from Antonio Garelli, who will remain on the company’s board as a consultant.

Casali, who also serves as content director at ItsArt, took up the role on October 1, having previously held roles including head of programming at Sky Italia network Sky Arte for almost a decade. More recently, he was the head of Italian theatrical arts documentary specialist Nexo’s OTT platform Nexo+.

Conceived by Italy’s Ministry of Culture during the pandemic when Italy’s cultural institutions suffered from a drop in physical visitors, ad-supported and transactional VoD service ItsArt offers content ranging from virtual monuments and museum tours to live opera, pop music, dance and theatre, as well as movies.

It is currently available in Italy and the UK, with more than 80,000 registered users, according to ItsArt. The streamer is expected to be made available throughout the rest of Europe in early November and will then expand into other international markets with content in various languages in 2022.

Casali told C21 the company is plotting a move into original docuseries that will offer viewers a “behind the scenes” view of Italian cultural institutions such as the opera house La Scala in Mi-lan. These will be made with Italian producers, while international companies in markets such as France or the UK could also come on board as potential coproducers, Casali added.

“At Sky Arte, we bought a lot of content from the UK and France as they are very interesting markets with very good ideas, producers and funds. Also, it will give us a different point of view on Italian content, which is always useful,” said Casali, who also wants to partner with more Italian cultural festivals.

ItsArt is divided into three sections: stage, places and story, and more than 1,100 events and shows are currently available on the platform. Biagini previously told C21 the platform is open to adding more content from both Italian and international distributors, but the content must have strong links to Italian culture and heritage.

Casali said: “Our focus is to continue to raise the level and depth of content where we can provide a shared platform that can reach a growing audience of consumers of Italian art and culture around the world.”


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