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Italian government to reduce TV license fee

The fee helps fund Italy's main public radio and television broadcasters.

The fee helps fund Italy's main public radio and television broadcasters.

The Rome studios of Italian broadcaster RAI. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
The Rome studios of Italian broadcaster RAI. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The Italian government says it will reduce the amount citizens must pay to watch live television broadcasts next year.

The reduction is baked into the proposed 2024 budget, which will see the license cut by around 20 percent.

Currently, Italian citizens pay around €90 (about U.S. $94) per year to watch live broadcasts on traditional TV sets and over the Internet, with the money funding the country’s public broadcaster, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI). The license is similar to how the BBC is funded in the United Kingdom.

Starting next year, Italian citizens will pay €70 (about U.S. $73) per year to watch live television under the proposed budget unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini this week.

The discount is part of a multi-year approach to completely eliminate the public subsidy for RAI, a strategy pushed by members of Italy’s far-right League party. The plan has found favor with Italy’s consumer rights organizations, which say the government should not be forcing the public to subsidize a broadcaster in the era of other viable commercial broadcast and streaming alternatives.

But the plan has been rejected by journalists working under the RAI and the labor unions that support them, with officials saying it could undermine the independence of the broadcaster.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).