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Population: 60 million
Internet penetration: 91%
17th June 2024

The Italian media system is in a state of flux. Historically characterised by a dominant television sector, a weaker yet influential press, and a slower digital transformation than elsewhere, today the media landscape sees television losing its primacy, major publishers selling traditional print outlets, and digital-born outlets seriously challenging established players.

Italian television remains highly popular, yet its role as a primary source of news is steadily diminishing, with a decline from 85% in 2017 to 65% in 2024, as shown by our survey. Age matters, with just 50% of younger respondents (18-24) using TV for news weekly. The market retains a significant level of concentration, with the three major broadcasters – the PSB RAI and the commercial players Sky and Mediaset – accounting for approximately three-quarters of the total revenues in the television sector.

Online advertising displaced TV’s leadership in recent years, and by 2022 accounted for over half (58%) of overall advertising revenues, with television and print accounting for 29% and 5% respectively. However, online advertising’s growth is not providing a lifeline for the struggling news industry. Publishers generate just a minor portion (15%) of digital advertising revenues, with online platforms such as Alphabet/Google and Meta/Facebook garnering the lion’s share (85%).1

The structural crisis of the newspaper sector is accelerating, primarily due to a consistent decline in copies sold (-37% from 2019 to 2023) and advertisers' increasing preference for other media platforms. Most newspapers responded by implementing paywall solutions, while some digital-native outlets such as Il Post, Open, and Linkiesta have recently introduced membership models. However, our survey shows little or no change in the proportion paying for online news each week – just 10%. While the digital replicas of printed newspapers are prioritised by publishers because they are priced higher than access to news via websites and apps, they still account for a tiny proportion of total sales.

The impact of digital disruption is also clear from shifts in the online reach of news brands. Until 2016–17, legacy players – both broadcasters and newspapers – largely dominated the Italian online news market. However, new brands started to challenge more established players in recent years, with Fanpage (a digital-born outlet with a strong social media presence) returning in 2024 to the position first attained in 2022 of being the leading online brand by reach in our survey. Il Post is another example of a digital-native player challenging more established newspapers’ positions.

The newspaper market is less concentrated than the television sector. GEDI and Cairo/RCS, the two main publishing groups, jointly account for 38% of the total copies sold in 2023, while other publishers each contributed less than 10%. Major changes occurred within the GEDI group after its acquisition in 2020 by the Agnelli-Elkann family, the largest shareholder in the car conglomerate Stellantis. Following the takeover, GEDI sold its flagship newsmagazine L’Espresso and most of the many local newspapers the group was known for. Recently, journalists went on strike in protest against the proposed sale of their few remaining local outlets. Journalists at La Repubblica have also criticised the group for softening the paper’s traditional centre-left stance, a new editorial strategy which they argue alienates its traditional audience without attracting new readers.2 GEDI’s recent acquisition of influencer-focused marketing companies (Stardust) and online outlets based on social media distribution ( also testify to a change in the group’s priorities.

Takeovers are also occurring among centre-right newspapers. Antonio Angelucci, a right-wing MP, businessman with stakes in private healthcare, and owner of the conservative papers Libero and Il Tempo, has recently bought the newspaper Il Giornale from the Berlusconi family and, at the time of writing, is in negotiations for the acquisition of AGI, the second-largest news agency in Italy, previously owned by the energy conglomerate Eni. The possible takeover of AGI has also sparked concerns and led to strikes among AGI journalists.

The closure of news kiosks, the Italian outdoor stands where print newspapers have traditionally been sold, also testifies to the severity of the crisis of the Italian news industry. Nearly 2,700 news kiosks disappeared across the country in four years, with the total number dropping to approximately 13,500 by 2023.3 Finally, the ending from January 2024 of the obligation to publish tender and public contract information in newspapers, known as ‘legal advertising’, poses a new challenge, with newspapers facing losses in revenue estimated at around €40m annually. Despite pressure from publishers, the government refused to postpone the implementation of the new system.

Alessio Cornia
Dublin City University, Ireland

Changing media 

Weekly reach for TV news has declined with printed newspapers at just 13%, one-third the level of 2018. Social media use for news is down, driven by a drop in Facebook use as news source.

Pay for online news


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Trust in news overall



Trust in the news remains low (34%). The most trusted brands are generally those seen as less partisan, while those with a clear partisan bias tend to command lower trust. The lower scores of digital-born players like Fanpage and Il Post may be because they have had less time to build a reputation.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 69.8

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at


1 See report

2 See Repubblica

3 See this link

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