From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Zon MultimÃ©dia and Telecinco submitted the only bids on the tender for the fifth terrestrial TV channel by the January 22 deadline to Portugal's Regulating Body for Social Communications (ERC).
Zon's project calls for a low-cost venture, which will have a smaller budget than the existing private TV channels SIC and TVI, although it does plan High Definition. According to the head of communications, Paulo Camacho, Zon is open to the possibility of including other Portuguese and foreign partners in the venture, as foreseen by the regulations of the public tender. If Zon’s bid is successful, the company hopes to start operations of the new channel in 2010.
The Telecinco bid is backed by a group of five Portuguese journalists (Carlos Pinto Coelho, David Borges, Augusto Bonfinha, Ana Rangel and JoÃ£o Salvado) who claim that all of the founding capital is of Portuguese origin. The channel will have an "innovative concept' focusing on a combination of general entertainment and news. If their bid is successful, the founders hope to initiate broadcasts by April 2010.
Portugal's broadcasting regulator should declare the winner by June.