Portugal launches 5th TV channel tender

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

The Portuguese Government has announced a tender that will award a license to a new free-to-air TV channel, which will be distributed exclusively by digital terrestrial television.

Interested parties will have until 21 January 2009 to submit their bids to the country's media sector regulator, the Regulating Body for Social Communications (ERC). According to the timetable established by the Government, ERC's final decision must be made by mid-April 2009.

During the evaluation of the bids, the ERC will award 50% of the points for the quality of the programming and guarantees of pluralism; 30% for the diversity of the programme offer; 10% for the amount of European and Portuguese language programmes; and 10% for the fullfilment of the TV law and human resources.

Companies that have so far expressed interest in taking part on the tender include Zon Multimédia (owner of pay-TV operator TV Cabo), and publishers Cofina and Controlinveste (owner of the Sport TV pay-TV channels), which are studying the possibility of forming a single consortium.

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