Magazine article Variety

Berlusconi's Roller-Coaster Week

Magazine article Variety

Berlusconi's Roller-Coaster Week

Article excerpt

ITALY

Last week offered some big plot twists in the ongoing saga of Silvio Berlusconi, who was sentenced to jail just a few days after sealing an important and strategic deal for his Italian pay-TV service.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, and no one has found stranger or more diverse ones than Berlusconi. So maybe it shouldn't be surprising that he has linked up with his longtime rival Rupert Murdoch. The two are united by a common effort to counter the possible arrival in Italy of Al Jazeera.

Berlusconi's Mediaset Premium sealed a deal July 29 to carry Murdoch's Fox Sports, including live British, French and Spanish topleague soccer - a crucial boost to Mediaset's offerings in the wildly popular sport. The implication of the pact is that Mediaset and Murdoch's Sky Italia paybox, which have been at each other's throats for years, have reached a truce, at least until 2015, when Italy's Serie-A soccer rights go up for auction again. …

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