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IRIS 2009-4:Extra

Slovakia

TV Markíza Receives Digital Licence and Slovak TV Faces Crisis

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Jana Markechová

Markechova Law Office, Bratislava

The most watched TV channel in Slovakia, TV Markíza, is planning to launch its second channel. On 16 December 2008 the Board for Broadcasting and Retransmission granted TV Markiza a digital licence for a new channel which will focus on housewives and will be called „TV Doma“. TV Markíza did not specify when the new station will start broadcasting. However, TV Markiza must start broadcasting within 24 months from the day of receiving the licence.

Currently the situation of the public service broadcaster Slovak Television (STV) is very critical. The governing council of STV moved to dismiss the managing director of STV. The main reason for this was the unsatisfactorily prepared budget proposal. However, the managing director has kept his post. The move failed by one vote. Nine of the fifteen council members voted for his dismissal.

The managing director had submitted two versions of the budget for the year 2009 to the council. The first version was a crisis one, and according to it, STV would let go one-third of its employees, cancel its sports channel, terminate its own productions and broadcast mainly re-runs. In the second budget version, he counted on a subsidy from the State budget amounting to EUR 20 million. None of the council members supported the managing director’s proposals and the council ordered the STV management to complete the crisis version of the budget.

STV is in a critical situation and as the budget for this year is still to be approved, STV will continue to operate under a provisional budgetary arrangement.