Spain’s RTVE could close channels following budget cuts

Spanish public broadcaster RTVE could be forced to close a number of its thematic channels or sell its premium soccer rights after the country’s government announced plans to slash its annual budget. The new government, which was elected at the end of 2011, is looking to cut €200 million (US$259 million) from the broadcaster’s budget.

This comes as Victor Calvo-Sotelo was sworn in as the new Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society and immediately announced plans to change RTVE’s funding model. “The financing of TVE, which was launched by the previous government had many problems and has a problem right now in Europe and must be studied not only from the field of financing of television itself but also in affecting our industry,” he said.

RTVE, which is holding an emergency meeting for its board of directors, is considering plans to allow it to bring back advertising across its channels as a way to deal with the budget cuts, although this will have a knock on effect on the commercial broadcasters that currently subsidize RTVE.

Miguel Santos Ruesga, president of RTVE’s board of directors, said: “It is possible to recover the broadcast of advertising. There will be policy changes by the Government and Parliament that would affect the funding model but it is doable and not have to be raised as an unfeasible issue.”