Fewer ads for Spain's public channels

ñaki Ferreras

Spain's president José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero yesterday promised a "drastic" cut in advertising on the national public TV channels of Televisión Española (TVE). Already this year, Spain's public TV channels must delete prime time ads on their channels.

The president promised the Audiovisual General Law would be ready in this political term as he indicated in his speech when he took office for this second term. However negotiations with private channels are at a standstill despite the government promising a draft of the bill in March.

The private channels in the UTECA association welcomed the advertising announcement but wanted to know how and when the ad cuts on RTVE would happen. According to UTECA's general secretary Jorge del Corral the final goal is the total suppression of advertisements on the TV public channels by 2010 when analogue switch off happens.

But the Spanish goverment wants to follow the French example where only five minutes per hour of advertising are allowed on public TV channels.

Opposition party to the government, PP, wants a maximum of seven minutes of ads per hour on TVE rather than the ten minutes the public broadcaster broadcasts per hour.

Finally, compensation for RTVE in terms of a tax on new revenues as in France has been ruled out by Spain's government. Nevertheless it's beginning to talk to the private TV channels in search for other compensating financing formulas.