In an attempt to tackle the public deficit, the Spanish government has passed a bill to allow Regional Administrations to sell or privatise their Regional public broadcasters.
Regions will be able to choose how to run their public broadcasters, and if they keep them, the channels won’t be allowed to run deficits. The 13 existing Regional public broadcasters operate over 20 TV channels with an annual budget of around €1.4 billion, 75 per cent from state subsidies and 25 per cent from ad revenues. Overall, Regional public networks have an estimated debt of €2.6 billion.
According to a report by the consultancy firm Deloitte, Spaniards pay around €84 per household per annum to maintain them. Moreover, in terms of audience ratings, the Regional public stations hardly reach 5 per cent separately.
The bill on regional broadcasters will be sent to Parliament for urgent approval so that the measure may come into force later on this year. Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid have already announced that they will privatise their regional channels.