The Italian Parliament has finally passed the government's controversial Gasparri media law, which critics say will pump an extra Euros 163m into Silvio Berlusconi's companies.
The law, which paves the way for digital TV transmission, will save Berlusconi's Rete 4 from shifting to satellite Tv, and will allow state channel Rai 3 to continue to collect advertising revenue.
Provisions had been made by previous centre-left governments to transfer Rete 4 to satellite TV, thereby freeing up 1600 terrestrial broadcasting frequencies.
According to analysts, if Rete 4 were to move to satellite TV, Mediaset's operating profit would fall by between 10%-15%.
"The prime minister has given himself a present worth about Euros 163m," argued opposition politician Paolo Gentiloni, referring to the amount that Rete 4 will earn from advertising revenues in the next five months.
The new law will also let companies control a bigger slice of the advertising market and will enable television networks, such as Mediaset, to own newspapers, therefore potentially further expanding Berlusconi's sprawling media empire.
In December, Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi sent the Gasparri bill back to Parliament, saying that it failed to "guarantee the plurality in the media and could lead to the formation of dominant positions, especially in the area of advertising."