Channel 10 on Sunday received a 15-year operating license from the Second Television and Radio Authority Council, after years of requiring special legislation to get its license extended.
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The approval was granted unanimously by the council, with the recommendation of Second Authority director general Nir Shweiki and the council’s legal adviser Hila Shamir. However, the license will be granted subject to the transfer of the controlling interest in the financially troubled channel to the RGE group from its current owner Yossi Maimon. The Second Authority is also requiring changes in the channel’s shareholders’ agreement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet approved Channel 10’s request to continue in the meanwhile to use the commercial logos of Channel 10 News and the channel number 10. The Second Authority has determined that if and when Netanyahu does so, the commercial logos will be worth 1.2 million shekels (about $315,500) and the channel number, 2 million shekels.
Ostensibly this will mean significantly less regulation, but in the meantime the law governing franchisees and license-holders is the same and there are no significant reductions in regulations. But the possibility that the change could mean Channel 10 will be subject to fewer regulatory conditions could reduce the cost of its programming content from about 280 million shekels to about 130 million shekels.
The main change is in the conduct of the two broadcasting companies Keshet and Reshet, franchisees of Channel 2. Rather than expecting that Channel 10 might fail financially and close, they will have to get used to a new situation in which the most stable competitor in the market, with a long-term license and a wealthy owner, is Channel 10.
It is believed that Channel 10’s new status will expedite the unification of Keshet and Reshet.
Eva Madjiboj, chairwoman of the Second Authority Council, said in a statement: “Channel 10, the first channel to receive a 15-year license, starts out today on a new road. This is the first step in a revolution at the end of which the Israeli public will enjoy more stable, independent, competitive and varied broadcasts.”
Channel 10 said: “The 15-year license expresses the faith in Channel 10, in its professional path and its employees and we are very grateful. We will continue to produce and broadcast good, competitive television and quality news providing viewers with distinctive programming with added value while strictly meeting our obligations.”