Media & Telecommunications


This four-partner TMT practice continues its excellent reputation in media and IT. With over 50 TV channels in its client portfolio, it wins exceptional praise for its in-depth knowledge of the media sector. Over the past year it has been particularly busy acting on regulatory, commercial and strategic matters relating to the launch of TV channels. On the IT side, regulatory matters and e-commerce have formed a substantial part of its recent caseload. Sources say: “No other firm can match its understanding of the institutional aspects of the media sector.” “The lawyers are young people who are passionate about their work and are not afraid to suggest a different approach. They offer creative and strategic solutions.” Francesco Portolano remains one of the most prominent media lawyers in Italy. He is also active in technology and is lauded for his “positive and enthusiastic approach.” Department head Ernesto Apa focuses on television regulation, commercial contracts, advertising and exploitation of audiovisual content. One client remarks: “He is absolutely great: his conclusions, focus and perspective are always excellent.”Portolano Cavallo‘s TMT team is one of the best I have worked with in terms of service levels and responsiveness."
Television is the most important sector of Italy’s entertainment industry. Recent years have seen considerable changes with the emergence and expansion of satellitedigital terrestrial televisioninternet protocol television (IPTV), television on mobile terminals and online audiovisual media services. The Italian television market continues to evolve.

The regulatory environment is becoming increasingly complex. Navigating it successfully requires an understanding of the technology and economic models underpinning the new forms of television.

Our professional experience encompasses all aspects of a television company’s operations, from day-to-day management to major projects and developments. For example, we have advised on:

  • the launch of television channels on various platforms, as well as on-demand services
  • the acquisition of digital terrestrial and satellite transmission capacity
  • interactive television platforms
  • program production
  • operations involving analogue and digital transmission networks
  • the acquisition of formats and the development of television program rights
  • transfers of television channels
  • playout contracts
  • legal aspects of the identification of viewing indices
  • authorizations for the provision of audiovisual media services, network operations and the supply of electronic communications services
  • positioning on a logical channel numbering (LCN) system
  • televised auctions, phone-in competitions and teleshopping
  • managing relationships with presenters and artists
  • the protection of minors
  • television advertisement and product placement regulations
  • web television and IPTV
  • transactional television
  • broadcasting quotas and investments for community-based content and other programming requirements

Our law firm is constantly involved in high-profile consulting. Among other things, we have provided:

  • consultation and assistance to various operators on all aspects of the launch and operation of digital terrestrial and satellite television channels and television channels on other platforms
  • assistance in drafting and negotiating distribution contracts for satellite, cable and digital terrestrial television programs
  • assistance to buyers, vendors and targets on regulatory and corporate aspects of mergers and acquisitions in the television sector
  • assistance to 20% of participants – including the highest-rated participants – in the ‘beauty contest’ for the assignment of 40% of Italy’s digital terrestrial transmission capacity
  • drafting and negotiation of licensing and production contracts for television programs
  • assistance in obtaining television-sector authorizations
  • assistance to numerous operators in relation to the assignment of positions in the LCN system for digital terrestrial television
  • consultation on foreign control of television networks and assistance in the resolution of related disputes
  • assistance to operators in obtaining initial authorization for experimental services on digital terrestrial television
  • lobbying and information to the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM), Parliament and the government in relation to draft legislation and regulations on television-related matters, and  documentation for public consultations initiated by AGCOM and the European Union
  • assistance and consultation on interactive television, video-on-demand and web television
  • advice on uplink agreements
  • advice on copyright protection in relation to formats and new television content
  • assistance in drafting legal documentation for television games and promotional prize competitions
  • assistance to national television broadcasters in the management of repeaters and terrestrial frequencies
  • assistance in drafting contracts for presenters and artists
  • assistance in operations for transferring transmission systems and converting analogue transmission networks to digital
  • consultation and assistance on the protection of minors and proceedings before the Italian Media and Minors Committee
  • assistance in contract negotiations and within the scope of legal disputes and administrative proceedings relating to the identification of viewer indices
  • consultation in defining the structure and organization of television-based auctions and phone-in television games
  • assistance in litigation and proceedings before AGCOM and the Italian Competition and Markets Authority (AGCM) on access to transmission platforms, carriage of television channels, government authorizations, use of terrestrial frequencies and transmission systems

Exceptional track record advising companies in the media and IT sectors on everything from corporate law and M&A to disputes and competition law. Universally regarded as a first choice for media work, attracting instructions from the market’s most prolific national and global players. Recent work highlights include acquisitions of TV channels, contractual and regulatory work, data protection and outsourcings. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “Its advice is extremely clear, succinct and on the money. The lawyers do not bog you down with excessive legal information.” Ernesto Apa is widely considered an authority in media regulatory law, and is appreciated for his good connections with the authorities. “He is a genius; he knows the TV market better than anyone,” notes one enthusiastic client. Managing partner Francesco Portolano has a fantastic reputation for media work and is lauded by sources for his “lateral perspective.” He predominantly acts on the corporate side of deals. Laura Liguori specialises in internet and e-commerce issues and is described by interviewees as “responsible, practical and business-savvy.”Portolano Cavallo couples an outstanding media practice with extensive expertise in IT-related matters. The media team excels in a range of areas, including IP, regulatory, licensing, advertising, contentious and contractual issues. The law firm additionally handles M&A transactions within the media sector. Data protection, launches of new services and IT contracts are also covered by its IT team. The firm’s lawyers act for a broad roster of high-profile global media and technology companies, as well as major telecoms providers."
Portolano Cavallo is described as ‘an excellence’ in the Italian media and telecommunications landscape, ‘a point of reference’ in the media sector and as ‘the best choice for regulatory matters.’ The department is the go-to option in particular for TV channels and streaming services, which are the historical focus of the firm."
LEGAL 500 EMEA 2022 - TMT


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