TIM approves sports venture with Canal Plus, appoints CEO

Italian telecommunications group Telecom Italia (TIM) has approved the creation of a joint venture with French pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus that is set to compete for sports rights in Italy, while it has also appointed a new chief executive as part of ongoing development efforts.

The approval of the joint venture comes after French media group Vivendi in August confirmed plans to form an Italian pay-television platform in association with its TIM and Groupe Canal subsidiaries.

News of such a platform, which would compete head-on with the pay-television unit of Italian broadcaster Mediaset entitled Mediaset Premium, first emerged in July when French newspaper Les Echos said the platform would be branded Canale + and be modelled on the existing French broadcaster, offering a mix of sports and entertainment programming.

TIM said in a statement: “Thanks to the joint venture (which will be regulated by terms and conditions under negotiation, starting from a non-binding terms sheet already signed by the parties), the group will have access to the experience and content of one of the most important production and rights companies in the world. The joint venture will focus on productions and co-productions, both Italian and international, and on the acquisition of rights, including sports rights.”

Meanwhile, TIM has co-opted Amos Genish onto the board, appointing him chief executive with executive powers. Genish (pictured) has extensive experience in the field of telecommunications and technology in both the United States and Brazil, where he co-founded GVT making it the principal ultrabroadband company in Brazil in just a few years.

Until the end of 2016, Genish was chief executive of Telefonica Brasil/Vivo, the principal integrated telecommunications operator in the country. From January to July 2017 he held the position of chief convergence officer of Vivendi, with responsibility for developing the group’s strategy for the convergence of content, platforms and distribution.

TIM executive chairman and Vivendi chief executive, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, said: “We have a clear long-term vision: to return TIM to its rightful splendour, making a crucial contribution to the digitalisation of the country, the creation of Digital Italy, through investment and people. TIM must have a constructive collaboration with the institutions and regulators: creating value for TIM means creating value for the country.”