The New Regulation of Spanish TV

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The Spanish TV legal framework has experienced relevant changes during the last 15 months:
– Acoording to the law 8/20009 about the financing of public television, TVE will not broadcast more advertising from 1 January 2010. That decission will means that the 700 million euros of TVE’s advertising income will go to other media.
– A decree dated 14 August 2008 allows TDT operators to launch pay channels. Therefore, six private operators can increase the level of competition in a market where Sogecale has a dominant position (with 2 million subscribers and more than 70% of the pay TV market). The public operator TVE will be able to own also two pay channels. The first mover after the decree has been La Sexta: the owners of this young commercial channel have launched Gol TV, a pay channel that broadcast soccer matches.
– The Telecommunications Law 7/2009 has relaxed the limits of concentrations: now two commercial chanels can merge, provided the combined audience does not overcomes the limit of 27%.
On top of that, a general TV law (Ley General de la Comunicación Audiovisual) is currently under discussion. This new piece of legislation will deal with controversial issues like sports rights, obligations for TV channels concerning Spanish films, and protection of children and young audiencies. That law, which will be aproved by the Spanish Parliament in 2010, will reagulate a very competittive market which is suffering a deep crisis: advertising decreased 11% in 2008 and it will go down around 24% in 2009.

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