CMT for more TV liberalisation and tougher fines

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The Spanish Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT) is proposing to open up the TV market and, at the same time, impose tougher fines to avoid breaking the legislation. In a report on the new Audiovisual Law Bill, the CMT recommends to raise up to E20 million (20 times the current level) the maximum fine to be imposed on those TV channels that do not meet their licences obligations.

Amongst the obligations, "dedicating at least 51 per cent of the broadcasting time to the distribution of European works", half in the different languages of the country. The CMT is also for the obligation of the TV channels of investing 5 per cent of its annual revenues in the European production of feature films, short films, TV movies, TV series, documentaries or animation. The CMT opposes telco operators having the same obligation, arguing that they are only distributors.

The CMT suggests a further liberalisation by reducing the legal limits both on the spectrum and the sale and rent of licences, as well as on the introduction of new technologies. The regulatory body proposes to reduce from 15 to 10 years the duration of the licence and to allow the sale of licences to third parties from the fifth year after award. It also backs the rental to third parties of up to 50 per cent of the awarded spectrum, that is to say two of the four DTT channels each broadcaster will operate from April 2010.

As for advertising, CMT is more restrictive, proposing to include all type of promotions within the 12 minutes per hour.

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