Policy and Practice in the Americas, Europe and Japan
Edited by Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura
Chapter 5: The Development of Digital Broadcasting in Italy
Alfredo Del Monte INTRODUCTION Broadcasting regulation has been justiﬁed in many diﬀerent ways: economically, culturally and politically. Spectrum scarcity, economies of scale and scope, or low elasticity of substitution with alternative services and products can lead to monopolisation. Other sources of market failures are asymmetric information and biases arising from advertiser ﬁnance, and the existence of externalities, both positive and negative. Without intervention the broadcasting market would fail to deliver the socially optimal mix of programmes. While diﬀerent countries have shared a common conviction of the need for broadcasting regulation, they have followed diverging policy approaches. Such approaches have been largely dictated by national and political administrative traditions and have resulted in diﬀerent structures for the analogue TV sector. Some authors, including Galperin (2004), think that it is important to analyse the structural features of the TV analogue sector as they constrain the implementation of the transition strategy to digital: Individuals and organizations make long term commitments (i.e. investment in particular broadcast technologies or services based on the existing rules of the game). Because these commitments often represent sunk costs, these market agents tend to resist policies that signiﬁcantly alter these rules. This facilitates policy choice consistent with existing regime and inhibits those deﬂecting from it (Galperin, 2004:18). A shift from one regime to another is possible, but it requires mobilisation of large political resources and not many governments are able to resist the political pressure of interests linked to the current structure...
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