Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gentiloni on Rai privatization

Paolo Gentiloni outlines his plan for the Communications sector before today's hearing in front the Culture Commission. He discusses the currently stalled privatisation of Rai, indirectly quoted as follows:

Gentiloni punta alla riorganizzazione dell'assetto societario che contempli una divisione tra l'attività di servizio pubblico, l'attività commerciale e le reti [Gentiloni hints at the reorganisation of the corporation, considering a division between public service activities, commercial activities, and the network].
This division of labour may, perhaps, be appropriate. However, it is equally appropriate to remember that there are significant transaction costs in organisational restructuring, and Rai has already paid such transaction costs during two previous episodes of restructuring which were 'inspired' by political developments. Under Pierluigi Celli, Rai was 'divisionalized' in order to allow a split between the commercial channels RaiUno and RaiDue, and the public service RaiTre. That split - envisioned by the legislative proposal 1138 - never took place. Then, under Flavio Cattaneo, Rai was centralized again, as key functions - scheduling and publicity - were pulled from the individual channels.

Both these moves cost money and time. They also upset people, and led to numerous polemics about purges in Rai. Rai should ensure that any reorganisation fits Rai on its own terms; or that, if Gentiloni insists on legislating a new design, that the legislative process is carried out with due haste.

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