|Interest in news
(4th out of 10)
Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset empire operates Italy’s top private TV stations, and the public broadcaster, Rai, has also been subject to political influence. Between them, Rai and Mediaset dominate Italy’s TV market, which remains the main source of news for the bulk of the population. The Italian press is highly regionalised, reflecting the country’s history and character. Most newspapers are privately owned, often linked to a political party, or run by a large media group. Print newspaper readership figures are low compared to many European countries.
The growing adoption of smartphones and tablets is speeding up the digital transition, which has otherwise lagged some way behind much of the rest of Europe. This represents a big opportunity for both TV and print brands that continue to be the most popular online news destinations, but are struggling to find sustainable business models. Free news subsidised by advertising is the most common model for both online legacy media outlets and pure players, with some exceptions. Repubblica.it and Corriere.it charge a fee for access through mobile devices but remain free on the desktop version.
During 2013 Il Sole 24 Ore business newspaper introduced a metered paywall, while La Stampa and Il Fatto Quotidiano newspapers are respectively experimenting with premium and paid membership models. At the beginning of 2014, Corriere.it introduced native advertising on its homepage in the search for new revenue streams.
Social networks and digital participation
Social media are widely used by Italians to discuss news and current affairs. This is true especially for younger generations and people who sympathise with new political parties (like Beppe Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle). More and more journalists and professionals are using Twitter, but wider adoption remains low. Google+ has a growing member base because of its strong integration with other Google services, but only a minority of Italians use it very often.1 WhatsApp has boomed in Italy in early 2014; but so far no news organisations have integrated this with their social media strategy.
Top social networks*
- See data from Politecnico University: http://www.ipresslive.it/comunicates/1716/internet-media-quasi-2-miliardi-di-grazie-a-mobile-video-e-social-osservatori-ict-polimi. ↩