Zon plans solo 5th channel bid

Zon Multimédia has decided to take part in the tender for Portugal’s fifth terrestrial TV channel without any partners, after disagreements with shareholders Cofina and Controlinveste on a joint bid.

The owner of pay-TV operator TV Cabo has also contracted Emídio Rangel, the founder of Portuguese private TV channel SIC, as an “external consultant” to present the bid that is due by January 21, 2009. So far, no other companies have confirmed their participation in the public tender for the launch of the first digital terrestrial TV channel in Portugal. The Regulating Body for Social Communications (ERC) will evaluate the bids, with a decision on the winner expected in mid-April 2009.

The ERC will evaluate and classify the bids based on the following criteria: the ‘Contribution for the qualification of the TV offer’ will be worth 50%; the ‘Contribution for the diversification of the TV offer’ will weigh in with 30%; while the ‘Contribution for the broadcasting of European, independent and Portuguese-language content’ will be worth 10%.

The licence for the fifth TV channel will be awarded for 15 years and may be renewed for an equal amount of time. Broadcasts should initiate one year after the awarding of the licence, although this deadline may be postponed in the case of extraordinary circumstances (such as market conditions).

However, many feel that the current panorama on the Portuguese advertising market does not offer the conditions for the success of yet another ad-supported TV channel. A market survey by advertising agency Carat has indicated that investments in advertising in Portugal have grown by only 5.5% over the past eight years.