Spain considers taxing telcos to raise money for RTVE

Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 28-10-2013

The Spanish Government may amend its audiovisual law to make every telecom company pay a tax to pay for the public TV channel RTVE, copying the French model.

The country's parliament will study the proposal made last Friday by the main opposition party, a proposition that could partially solve RTVE's budget problems.
Although initially the public TV and radio station was not going to suffer cutbacks next year, it seems that the budget will now be reduced by another 80 million, according to El Pais. Over the past two years, RTVE has already seen a 250 million drop in its budget, which comes solely from public money.
The proposal suggests taxing every telco at 0.9% of their incomes; currently this tax is only paid by those telecom companies which offer some kind of audiovisual service. In addition, most regional operators, such as Euskaltel or Telecable, which have so far not been affected by the law, might also have to start paying for the public TV service.
The return of advertising has been not seriously considered, but some in the industry have already pointed to it as a solution. Indeed, the new proposal does intend to be more flexible regarding commercial sponsorship, opening the door to another way of gaining income.
The idea of private advertisers coming back to RTVE is not seen in a positive light by the private channels. They consider that, due to the delicate situation of the publicity sector, RTVE will represent too much competition for a too low an offer.