Advanced Television

Spain: Private TV tax to finance public TV

April 28, 2009

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The Spanish Government looks likely to approve a new tax on private networks to finance national public broadcaster RTVE to compensate the total abolition of advertising on the channel, possibly from next July.

The new tax would represent around 3 per cent of their revenues, around E140 million, and would be added to the current 5 per cent they are paying by law to finance the production of Spanish and European films and TV shows.

Moreover, other players like IPTV operators (Imagenio, for example) or even mobile companies with a TV offer would also have to contribute 0.9 per cent of their revenues, around E190 million to finance RTVE. To complete RTVE’s budget, apart from an annual state subsidy of around E555 million, the Government plans to dedicate part of the tax that operators pay for the use of spectrum, around E250 million. Unlike France and UK and other European countries, the Administration rules out an annual tax for having a TV set.

With all these measures, the Administration hopes that advertising on RTVE is eliminated by next July, with the other broadcasters taking advantage of a larger TV advertising pie that amounts to E3 billion every year.

The Private TV Association UTECA, has protested against the tax as “private TVs cannot stand any more burdens”, according to Jorge del Corral General Secretary of the Association who hopes to have further explanation from the Government in a meeting very soon.

The Head of Spain's Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT), Reinaldo Rodríguez, has come out against taxing telecoms operators to help fund public broadcaster Radio Televisión Española (RTVE), saying such a move would not be logical. Rodríguez said: “Financing the public national broadcaster should come from the audiovisual sector and not from the telecommunications sector.”

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