Advanced Television

Oliart, new president of RTVE

November 13, 2009

From David Del Valle in Madrid

A former minister of Defense, Alberto Oliart, aged 81, will be the new president of the state-owned TV group RTVE following the resignation next Friday of Luis Fernandez, the first president of the pubcaster elected by Parliament in 2007.

One of his main challenges at the helm of RTVE will be to cope with a public TV only financed by state subsidies, taxes on private TVs and telco companies and the sale of content as the new law, recently approved by the Parliament, bans RTVE from broadcasting advertising from next January.

Oliart will also have to pilot the group at a time when Spain is heading for analogue switch-off scheduled for April 2010.

Meanwhile as RTVE prepares for its ad-free existence, freeing around E600 million in ad revenues, Spain is at the front of Europe in the fall of TV ad revenues. A report produced by UTECA, the private TV Association, reveals that the TV ad market (representing 41 per cent of total advertising market in the country) has fallen by 30 per cent in the first half of the year to end the year with an average drop of 19 per cent, going from a total turnover of more than E3 billion in 2008 to around E2.5 billion in 2009. As a way of comparison, in other countries like Germany and France the TV ad fall is expected to be around 7 per cent, with the UK and Italy falling by around 12 per cent.

To complicate matters, it is estimated that the TV ad market in the country, which represents 41 per cent of the total ad market, will not turn the corner until the last quarter of 2010.

Private TVs have urged the Administration to also ban advertising on state-owned Regional TV channels freeing another E280 million in the ad TV market.

UTECA claimed the losses incurred by public TV in Spain total E1.618 billion in 2008 excluding state subsidies, representing a net cost per home of E118.

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