The essay sums up the analysis of the media discourses which accompanied the first and aggressive launching
phase of Dtt between january 2005 and december 2006. It underlines the limits of the promotional operation
of this new platform. After an introduction describing the theoretic background and the coordinated
methodologies inspiring the research, the essay reasons out on the main facts come out from the study of
media discourses on the event of the digital terrestrial television. A cross-reading of the monitoring results
carried out on press, websites and television (results described in details in the following essays of this section)
denounces the extreme weakness of the operation trying to foster a technological imagination. In particular
a discontinuity in communication can be noticed, alternating moments of silence, phases in which Dtt
asserts itself as a main theme in the media agenda, and the heterogeneity of Dtt images offered by the media,
opposing enthusiast representations to crushes without appeal. A fragmentation (temporal and symbolic)
which mirrors some basic logics existing within the television system (launching of a new pay service through
Dtt platforms) or which is motivated by reasons of political nature (the strife between opposed political sides
within the Government), though not answering the need for information of the users.
The essay analyzes the presence of Dtt in the Italian press. From the examination of a collection of headings,
daily newspapers or magazines, generic or specialized, the essay underlines the non homogeneousness of Dtt
images and the weakness of their information power. The press opinions seem using Dtt more as a litmus
paper to measure the present economic, political and cultural tensions of our Country in the examined years,
more than as an object to be analyzed and explained. In particular, the partiality of the sector magazines about
Dtt can be noticed in the apodictically positive vision of «Sorrisi e Canzoni» and in the prejudicially critical
one of «Satellite». This polarity can be also found in the periodical magazines («Panorama» e
«L’Espresso») presenting Dtt contents as a strife between opposed political parties. The opinion expressed by
the newspapers are more articulate. Also in this case, even considering the variety and wideness of the facts
taken into account, (from the issue of pay-tvs, to the relationship between Dtt and football, to the political
implications and the ambiguity of Gasparri’s Law, until the disappointment for the first tests of the digital terrestrial
system) the lack of orderliness and the partiality in information leave the viewer alone in the passage
to the new television system.
The essay analyzes the forms and evolution of Dtt in space and network, through an extensive monitoring
which takes into consideration: institutional sites(from Fondazione Bordoni to DGTVi , to websites managed
by the main domestic broadcasters); reliable sources of information (from on-line versions of the main Italian
newspapers to web magazines such as «Punto Informatico»), until what the author defines as the «large group
of non-official information sources»: portals, sites, blogs, often born with speculative aims, to gather advertising
and data, working as sounding board for opinions given by the ‘official’ site and are also an indicator
of the changes in the elaboration of Dtt ‘mythology’. The analysis is developed diachronically, highlighting,
in the same way as in press communication, both the incoherence of Dtt discourse, and the difficulty of putting
the user and its needs at the centre of it. The elaboration of the discourse mainly highlights three steps:
an initial mythology building-phase, dominated by the institutional source which between 2000 and 2004
organized an advertising campaign to promote Dtt; a conflict phase, starting at the end of 2004 and continuing
for the two following years, with the information sites sharply criticizing Dtt mythology drawing on technical,
cultural and social arguments; and a later phase, characterized by a progressive emptying of the sites
and by the ending of the internet debate, but which does not put an end to the Dtt event, still waiting to be
investigated in its manifold and controversial implications.
Even if the digital terrestrial television presents itself as the technology replacing the analogical and free television,
this last one has contributed in a limited way to the ‘imaginary’ phase of this platform, and to the elaboration
of a system of meanings and values necessary for this media and cultural scenario and for the uses
that will be made of it. The essay gives the results of the monitoring of television programming of the main
Italian broadcasters in the period included between january 2005 and december 2006. The first datum highlighted
is the scarcity of references to Dtt. While the press showed a growing interest toward the digital terrestrial
television, the Italian television networks tended not to participate to the debate. Mediaset channels
are an exception: in 2005 they opened a series of frames on Dtt, essentially concerning the launching
Mediaset Premium service and the proposal of the new free channels Boing and Mediashopping. In these two
years, mainly the discourses concerning Mediaset Premium took various shapes and started characterizing Dtt
as the evolution of analogical television, as a possibility of interaction and personalization, as a ‘silent revolution’,
a radical change, but controlled and free of risks for the user. Rai communication strategies and results
were very different. Rai channels dedicated little space to Dtt issue, mostly linked to their political and cultural
implications, but with no promotional aims. The idea of Dtt which emerged from Rai channels is one of
basic service offered to all citizens. As with press and web communication, also the television approach had
substantial discontinuity and ambiguity, making the switch unnatural and complicated for the viewer.
The interactive experience is a kind of meta-experience or multiple experiences: it implies that the viewer not
only perceives the text, but interacts with it; he is involved in doing, in involving previous, present knowledge
and competence, whether media or extra-media related. It is the place in which, even before the medium
text, the viewer himself must guarantee a ‘return path’, an active, not a passive dimension of experience.
For this reason interactivity has been put at the center of the media and social discourses on Dtt.
The essay gives the results of the analysis of the content and organization of the products offered by
Dtt program schedules in the years 2005 and 2006, focalizing its attention on the interactive experience. It is a socio-semiotic analysis of the text within its socio-cultural context, which allowed understanding what the
Dtt text inherited from the previous television. The analysis also allowed understanding how it translates the
user’s knowledge and competences about the technological means within the new media environment.
The analysis of the interactivity forms offered by Dtt was carried out on three main interpretation axis:
the typology of the interactive service (allowing the distinction of Enhanced TV; Magazine/Portal TV; TGovernment
and T-Business models); the content of the information conveyed by the interactive service (distinguished
between the peculiarity of the television medium or of the media and extra-media external system);
the user’s permanence or leave with respect to the television medium (in which can be distinguished
permanent interactive forms within the ‘closed’ Dtt system and forms of leave from the system toward the
The scenery emerging is characterized by a lack (or scarcity) of peculiarity of the medium; by an interactivity
which seems to follow extra or old-television models and finds it difficult to create new ones; by the
coexistence of numerous models which are different from each other but not necessarily alternative.
The evolution opportunities are: the definition of a peculiar model of the medium, expressing characteristics
of difference with respect to the existing television systems (analogical via ether and satellite digital); or the
creation of a permanent koiné, in which the hybridization of the models and their coexistence increases service
complexity (articulated and recognizable on the basis of ever different relevance criteria), with respect to
Some products included in the offer of digital terrestrial television represent a specimen of the ‘adaptation’
of analogical broadcasting to the new digital environment. They are such format as the reality shows, which
seem to fit well into the testing of new forms of communication and interactivity and refer to a target of young
people, having the necessary skills to access Dtt services.
The analysis described in the essay has been carried out on four reality shows which have characterized
the television season in 2006: Amici di Maria De Filippi, Music Farm, La Fattoria and il Grande
Fratello. They are consolidated formats, coming from general television and which were not created ad hoc
for the digital platform. The four program restyling gone through before the passage to Dtt offered an interesting
observation point to forecast the scenario of television communication following the switch off.
The essay underlines how the switch to digital television has enhanced some typical components of the
reality shows: first of all the active participation of the viewers with their vote, and then the full accessibility
to the competitors’ private dimension thanks to interactive interfaces joined by sections dedicated to votes
It has also been underlined the presence of formats (La Fattoria and Music Farm) representing a radical
change in which the digitalization of the products is bound to a substantial continuity with the analogical
proposal. Other programs (Amici di Maria De Filippi and Il Grande Fratello) are more suitable for the digital
transition and mark a difference, even though in a different way, if compared with their previous editions.
In the end it is underlined how the scenario is characterized by incomplete forms of adaptation and by
the lack of products conceived ad hoc for the new platforms.
The sharing of digital language allows public administrations to transfer some already available services on
line. In the specific case, Dtt represents a platform alternative to internet, which can address a much younger
audience, included the weakest part of it, which is excluded by the other fruition channels, thanks to different
logics: simplicity, standardization, diffusion. Its context of use, its graphic layout and its connection through
telephone cable, joins in a single platform three different typologies of instruments (teletext, dvd and internet)
which had not yet been planned for a joined use. The digital terrestrial television, through interactive services
addressed to the citizens, has the possibility, among others, to represent a real contribution to a society
of information excluding nobody, in which knowledge is a fundamental need and technology is a mean of
creation, exchange and content preservation. The essay analyzes the offer of interactive services in 2006 Dtt
programming, with particular reference to the applications trying to fill up the digital divide. In particular the
analysis deals with the forms of T-Government (Television Government) characterized by a bi-directional and
personalized interactivity, often offered as a side service to the broadcaster’s programming. After taking into
consideration the twenty-nine projects started and financed in 2006 for the creation of public administration
services based on the digital terrestrial system, the essay analyzes the offer, made by La7 in collaboration with
the Municipality of Milan and by Class News in collaboration with the Region Sicily. The analysis allows
underlining how, in the relevant year, this kind of services opened the opportunity for the local televisions to
play a key role in the building of a network of relations between the suppliers and users of interactive services.
In the meantime, it underlines how this experimentation drove the interaction with the user-citizen, planned
by public administrations, principally on public administration activities. The essay also underlines that
a possible extension of the public services through the digital terrestrial television would involve the field of
distance training, of E-learning.
The transition of television communication from an analogical environment to the terrestrial digital one is not
only a technical or marketing issue; nor it is only a matter of languages and communication strategies. It must
be assessed also in terms of the cognitive, relational, emotional and identity resources that it unfolds. The
essay deals with the relationship between young generation and Dtt offers, with the objective to verify the
relationship between Dtt offer and the skills and needs expressed by the users, young people, if we consider
the evidence that the digital terrestrial television answers to the technical and media needs of the new generations.
The essay deals with the spaces that Dtt creates and dedicates to young viewers, the forms of participation
and interactivity experimented and the fact that it is recognizable and more appealing with respect to
other platforms. The analysis of the digital terrestrial television for children and young people (theme channels,
formats and interactive offers in 2006) allows bringing to light a simplification of interactive platforms
and a depletion of accessible contents, e.g. limiting the interactive forms to the television vote, the sending
of sms from home and the possibility to see the comments of other viewers. In particular, the interactive applications
associated to programs and channels for the youngest seem to be limited to videogame applications,
offering a more direct, simple experience, within reach, if compared to other platforms.
In its initial development phase, Dtt offer for young people seems therefore going in two directions: the
video-recreational one and the cross-media.
In conclusion, the essay underlines that there are still many unknown potentialities: personalization of
times and of content supplying; multiplication of the attention focuses; strengthening and diversification of
viewer’s action; sharing with the community.
The coming of the digital terrestrial television in Italy was accompanied by a thick network of social issues
that in various ways have built and promoted it as a technology endowed with innovative characteristics, able
to transform the experience of television and to satisfy specific needs for interaction and participation. In this
launching and promotional phase of the service and of the necessary devices to access it, which also had economic
characteristics, the attention obviously concentrated more on the production and offer side than on that
of consumption; the audience was taken into account from a potential point of view.
The essay faces an analysis of the television audience which is busy in domesticating the digital terrestrial
platform facing the horizon of consumption, not only through the simple act of purchasing, the simple
usage or the interpretation of its meaning, but collocating it in a circular process with a number of phases
including both the pre-determination of consumption on the production side and its integration in the consumer’s
The essay exposes an explorative, ethnographic and multi-situated research which has extended the
observation to a variety of contexts, supporting negotiation in the family group (through interviews to 31 persons
in 12 domestic units) or in other contexts in which the decision to adopt or not Dtt is taken: from one
side the sales points, from the other the condominium meetings.
The essay, therefore, analyzes the appropriation forms of Dtt between 2005 and 2006, highlighting the
conceptualization of the medium in the imaginary phase, the modalities of appropriation, the incorporation
practices and levels. It can be therefore noticed how Dtt is ‘domesticated’ in the form of integration to the traditional
television, collocating it inside the evolution line of the television medium and excluding, in this
phase, the reference to the wider field of ICTs.
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