Sky News to move to Milan: “Guarantees and stability”

300 workers to transfer from Rome.

The leading pay-TV channel Sky is preparing to transfer its news operations from Rome to Milan in search of more “guarantees and stability”, says CEO Andrea Zappia.

The news staff of SkyTg24 and “other production facilities” will transmit from Milan – also towards Germany – leaving only a small news bureau in the capital close to Parliament and the prime minister’s office.

No firm date has yet been announced for the transfer, but it expected to take place this year. Out of some 500 employees, around 300 are being invited to move to Sky’s Santa Giulia hub in Milan, while between 120 and 200 will become redundant.

“One has to think twice about doing business in Rome these days,” Zappia told leading Italian daily Corriere della Sera. “Sky needs to invest in a context of guarantees and stability.

“Rome doesn’t have a plan for digital development,” Zappia added. The capital isn’t digitally cabled, its transport network is insecure and unreliable, and its slow and uncooperative bureaucracy makes for “exorbitant” costs, he explained – all factors which determined the choice of Milan.

News staff have announced a packet of four days of strikes, and journalists of competitor RAI say they intend to mount a strike in solidarity. But the management of the channel, part of the News Corporation empire of Rupert Murdoch, seems determined to press ahead with the move away from the Rome facility, opened in 2003.

Lazio regional governor Nicola Zingaretti invited Zappia to a meeting to discuss the move on Thursday this week, but reportedly Sky turned down the invitation, stating that negotiations were under way with labour unions – a claim promptly denied by union officials.