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RAI-3 takes Video Age's best TV award in Italy.

How does one find out what is the best TV channel in a country? Well, in the case of Italy it should be easy, considering that it is an international tourist attraction and a major TV market. So, we quizzed the Germans: after all, Italy has their "recreational lake in the Mediterranean."

We questioned the French who are well respected by the Italians, even though they would like to forget that they are "cousins". We forced the British to think beyond their villas in Tuscany and asked the culturally-related Argentinians. We also requested the opinion of Brazilians and Americans. But, most of all, we called the Italians: among those we questioned were viewers randomly selected from the North, the South and the Center;journalists, producers, distributors and other media people.

Three major findings popped right out. First, very few seemed to put commercial television on top ("watch Canale 5 only if you like commercials," was one comment). Producers and distributors preferred RAI-2 "as business people," but most of them were quick in selecting RAI-3 as Italy's best TV network. Without a doubt, RAI-2 received the second4argest votes, but one suspects that it could also be the result of the warm feelings everyone seemed to have for its president, the universally-beloved Giampaolo Sodano. RAI-2 is the preference ofZDF's RolfDubral, followed by Canale 5. RAI-2 is also the favorite of a French distributor, followed by Italia 1. Argentina's Pedro Leda of Ledafilms also likes Italia 1. For Switzerland's Beatrice Grossmann of RTSI, RAI-3 and Italial are her first and second choice respectively. Americans were a bit more problematic, mostly due to the language barrier. However, among the ones that could understand Italian, RAI-3 was the favorite with the often repeated caveat slanted towards the network with which one has done more business. "When in Italy, I watch more Rete 4 than any other channel," was the typical American comment, but it is watched less for content than it is to keep an eye on the product sold. Similarly the Brits tend to be slanted more towards Canale 5, because they too are more interested in the product sold.

Amidst Italian viewers, the ones called in the North tend to prefer RAI-2, while the ones called in the Center and in the South prefer RAI-3. From Rome, Croce del Sud's Francesca Santini chose RAI-3. New Pentax Film's Gianluca Curti commented on the status ofRAI-3:"RAI-3 has the highest average of quality programming."A Sacis executive mentioned without hesitance that RAI-3 is Italy's best TV channel. An Italian representative of an American studio in Rome explained that RAI-3's scheduling is "varied with good and substantial local production." It is definitely his favorite. Surprisingly, we also found that RAI-3 is preferred by media people and some general viewers on the Central Eastern Coast. In Milan, RAI-3 finished on top of RAI-2, while in the NorthEast areas, RAI-2 was the favorite. Prina Comunicazione's Lorenza Sala remarked that she often tunes in to RAI-3, but it doesn't mean she likes it." She added, "I tend to make my own schedule, I appreciate movies on Rete 4 and have fun with the Soaps on RAI-2."

However, there were exceptions. Monitor's Enrico Callerio said that he watches Italia 1 more comfortably than any other channel. Similar exceptions were found in Rome, where Pegaso's Paolo Lombardo admitted his first choice is RAI-1. He stated that RAI- 1 has "important and/or spectacular programs, especially during peak time."Canale 5 was his second favorite. Media executive Alberto Ferrero's first choice is Tele Monte Carlo (because of its "news and sports"), and his second preference is also Canale 5.

Despite these exceptions, RAI-3 can easily be considered Italy's best TV network. Without fail, the repeated explanation for RAI-3 preference was: "it takes more chances, it is more controversial and it broadcasts high quality programming."

Curiously, RAI-2 and Italial finished second and third, while Italy's most popular channel s, RAI 1 and Canale5 were rated fourth and fifth by a cross section of the international TV industry.
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Publication:Video Age International
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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