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Digital Broadcasting

Policy and Practice in the Americas, Europe and Japan

Edited by Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura

Digital television is transforming both broadcasting and, as a result of convergence, the larger world of communications. The impending analogue switch-off will have a major impact on households all over the developed world. Digital Broadcasting considers the effects of digital television on the availability, price and nature of broadcast services in the Americas, Europe and Japan. It shows how this depends upon what platforms – cable, satellite, fixed or wireless broadband – countries have available for use and also upon government policies and regulatory interventions.
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Chapter 5: The Development of Digital Broadcasting in Italy

Alfredo Del Monte


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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