The long drawn out conflict between broadcasters and the Greek state over new broadcasting licences is coming to an end. Six media groups have formally applied for transmission permissions.
The problems have come about because of the Greek government’s wish to shake up what local reports describe as a “debt-ridden, unregulated broadcasting sector” with allegations that many current broadcasters are wholly dependent on bank loans that “they cannot repay”.
The first attempt to see some regulation put in place was back in 2016 alongside an attempt to reduce to four the number of nationwide digital licenses on offer. That proposal fell apart amidst legal wrangles and finally declared “unconstitutional” by the Greek Council of State.
This latest suite of licences is being awarded in accordance with oversight by the country’s National Council for Radio & Television (NCRTV).
The six bids have come from SKAI TV, STAR channel, Alpha, Antenna, E TV (all currently on air with temporary licences) and a new player: Tileoptiki Elliniki. Each has submitted an application complete with a €3.5 million bond.
Mega Channel, now effectively bankrupt and under control of its debt-holders, has not submitted a bid.
The tenders will be opened today, and then reviewed by the NCRTV, which will announce its qualifying bidders. Bidders are then allowed to object, so the final awards could still be months away.