Prix Italia Tackled Digital TV

Palermo offered the best Prix Italia of the past few years. Last September, the itinerant Prix, sponsored by RAI, Italy's public broadcast organization, returned to the Sicilian capital after 12 years away. Over 770 participants (a 48 percent increase from last year in Bologna) from 35 countries had the opportunity to take part in a total of 32 events including workshops, conferences, book presentations, seminars and opulent opening and closing ceremonies. Fifteen prizes for radio, TV and Web programs were awarded, plus a Granarolo Special Prize.

The second annual NATPE Day was held in the Teatro Massimo, the imposing theater in the center of Palermo that housed the Prix Italia Village. Organized by the Los Angeles-based TV association, NATPE, the day-long session featured 9 panelists and two moderators.

The topics of discussion were “The Digital Future” and “The Digital Dilemma.”

Another important contribution to the success of this Prix was the workshop “Can Program Quality be Quantified?” which took the International Standards Organization to task. Representatives from ISO met with media experts to explore the possibility of measuring quality as a production process.

Under the Prix umbrella, a series of independent events took place, including the meeting of the Canada-based World Radio and Television Council of public service broadcasters.

In addition, the European Broadcasting Union, organized professional meetings to deal with today's main broadcasting issues, and the CMCA staged a call for programs to award a prize for the 8th annual Mediterranean Film-TV Festival.

The Mediterranean area took on extra importance at Prix Italia with the forum Med-Net, which aims to foster telecommunications in the Mediterranean area.

Domestic business was also done: the directors of RAI's three TV networks were in attendance to present their new season schedules.

The president of RAI, Antonio Baldassarre, attended with Italy's Communication Minister Maurizio Gasparri, to announce that Palermo will be housing RAI's fifth production center. RAI is now in the process of reducing the negative “Rome-centric” political influence by distancing itself from Rome and expanding its regional centers, taking the German ARD system as its model. Coincidentally, Prix Italia's new president is Frank Dieter Freiling of Germany's ZDF. The Prix Secretary General is Carlo Sartori of RAI. Some 37 foreign and 58 Italian journalists attended the event.

RaiTrade Screenings Boosts Sales

This year, for its traditional ninth annual screenings, RaiTrade, the marketing and sales arm of RAI, Italy's state broadcaster, chose Taormina, a small resort town nestled on a mountain located 30 minutes from Sicily's Catania Airport.

The three-day event, which conclude October 5, attracted some 200 participants, including more than 180 program buyers from 65 countries, who screened 600 programs, 50 of which were new titles.
For RaiTrade, these screenings generate up to 40 percent of their annual international sales, which, in the year 2000 (the latest figures available), equaled 80.6 million euro.