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Berlusconi, Silvio (1937–)

Subject History

Place Southern Europe » Italy

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


Italian Prime Minister (1994). From school he went to work for a Milan construction company and became its general manager at the age of 23. In 1961 he founded his own construction company and ten years later moved into television. He set up a private station Tele-Milano and soon expanded into Canale 5, Italy's first private nationwide television network, which ended the monopoly of RAI, the state television and radio. By 1985, after he added a third station, 44 per cent of prime-time viewers were watching his channels, 40 per cent watching RAI. Television attracted advertising: in 1990 60 per cent of all advertising revenue in Italy went to his Fininvest company. Berlusconi is also a publisher, who owns a Milan daily newspaper, many periodicals, a chain of cinemas and the football team AC Milan. His commercial interests had been protected by his socialist friend Bettino craxi , Prime Minister from 1983–7, but by 1994 the PSI (Italian Socialist Party) had collapsed, so he founded Forza Italia , which was more a series of supporters’, clubs than a political party. It was run by his television managers, who used marketing techniques. ‘Focus groups’ were formed in different regions to find out what voters wanted and then Forza would promise to provide it. In the election campaign Berlusconi had more television coverage than anyone else and was able to distance himself from the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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