Mediatrade, the rights trading arm of Italian media giant Fininvest, is setting up an umbrella organisation, Cross Media Factory, to seek synergies between Fininvest's publishing, internet, film and television arms.

Mediatrade president Maurizio Costanzo and managing director Roberto Pace said the first projects for the new company, which aims to be a "factory of ideas", will be an animated film and a TV reality show entitled Generations. Fininvest-owned broadcaster Mediaset is currently having a huge hit with the Italian version of the Big Brother reality format, which began airing daily on September 14.

Speaking during the Mipcom television market at Cannes, Costanzo said he intended Cross Media Factory's forthcoming projects to resemble the US franchises of Star Wars and Pokemon. He also cited interest from Columbia TriStar and 20th Century Fox to board the new company as financial partners.

Although the names of directors for Cross Media Factory have yet to be confirmed, executives will be picked from the four companies owned by Silvio Berlusconi's media empire: Mediaset, publishing group Mondadori, film company Medusa and internet portal Jumpy.

Meanwhile, Mediaset chairman Piersilvio Berlusconi announced that the broadcaster's annual budget for TV drama in 2001 would be raised by $45m (L100bn) to $160m (L355bn).