May 20, 2024

Investment in original content production continues to grow in Italy where resources across all genres reached a total of €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) thanks to increased investments from U.S. streamers. But linear TV remains the Italian industry’s main driver.

That’s the main takeaway from the annual report on local production presented on Friday by Italy’s TV producers’ association APA at Rome’s MIA market

The $1.9 billion pot of cash poured into Italian productions of all types in 2022 represented only a small increase over 2021, which is when local originals were boosted by a 55% post-pandemic growth spurt, according to figures from the APA report.

Film and TV product currently account for 55% of these investments with an increase in resources now going into documentaries and animation product mostly destined for streaming play.

“The constantly growing investment from streamers is currently worth almost a third of the total TV market,” said APA chief Chiara Sbarigia. But she noted that “though we are seeing that starting in 2018 global operators [mostly streamers] have increased investments linear TV remains the main market player in our country.”

Sbarigia also pointed out that APA is seeking to “avert the risk of a polarization of the [Italian] market with a scenario that would see [high-end] global productions from the streamers versus [only] domestic productions coming from the local players,” she said.

Netflix VP of Italian originals Eleonora Andreatta, who was on the panel, underlined that Italy is an important territory for Netflix. “Since we opened an Italian office a year-and-a-half ago with Italian management on board, we’ve been doing a systematic job of building a slate for the future,” she said. Upcoming Netflix Italy originals include “The Leopard,” a six-episode series based on the classic Sicily-set novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa that marks the streaming giant’s most ambitious Italian original to date and has a budget of more than €40 million ($42 million).

Sky Italia’s exec VP of content Antonella d’Errico cited a recent report from Milan’s Bocconi business school, according to which the Comcast-owned pay-TV platform over the past 10 years has invested more than €11 billion in Italian content, through both production and acquisition. As for high-end Sky Italia originals, she cited upcoming lavish drama series “M,” about Benito Mussolini’s rise to power, directed by Joe Wright, which “is expected to go around the world,” she said.

Antonella Dominici, senior VP streaming, South Europe, Middle East and Africa at Paramount, said that one years after the launch of Paramount+ in Italy its Italian originals are “among the top ones in terms of visibility, proving that we are not just about American content.” Dominici cited upcoming Paramount+ Italian original series “Miss Fallaci,” about the 1958 journey to the U.S. of iconic Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, and her early years in Hollywood as a show “that will allow us to export a story about a very well known Italian writer.”

RAI general manager Giampaolo Rossi reiterated that the state broadcaster remains “central to the Italian audiovisual industry because it’s a public service and its function is to be a pillar and a driver.” But Rossi also lamented the fact that RAI’s budget is getting slashed. RAI’s biggest event show this year is €17 million ($18.6 million) period drama “La Storia” based on a globally bestselling novel by late great author Elsa Morante, set during the final years of World War II and its immediate aftermath in Italy. Germany’s Beta is handling international sales.

Italy’s deputy culture minister Lucia Bergonzoni noted that “Italian productions are increasingly gaining ground internationally,” and reiterated the government’s support and commitment to help boost exports.

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