IBA Asks to Raise Television License Fees by 10 Percent

The Broadcast Authority will demand that television license fees be increased by 10 percent as part of its recovery plan.

The Broadcast Authority will demand that television license fees be increased by 10 percent as part of its recovery plan. Chairman Moshe Gavish intends to submit the details of the plan to the treasury for approval. If the plan is not approved, the authority, which is foundering in debts totaling hundreds of millions of shekels, is likely to collapse, with confiscation orders placed by its debtors. The annual license fee currently totals NIS 510.

As part of the recovery plan, the authority intends to demand legislation that would require the multi-channeled television cable and satellite companies to hand over their lists of subscribers to identify television owners who are not paying the fee. According to assessments within the authority, about one third of all television owners succeed in avoiding payment of the fee.

The recovery plan is based on treasury financing of NIS 350m, and additional investment of NIS 450m by the authority. The funds will be used to finance a redundancy plan for 850 authority employees, and investment in equipment that will put the collapsing authority back on its feet, with a new and healthier management structure. Gavish intends to clarify to the finance minister that if the proposed plan does not receive approval, the government will be faced with two options: either closure of the authority and reestablishment at double the cost of the proposed plan or continued support of the authority though state budgeting, the cost of which is difficult to assess. In an interview to TheMarkerweek, Gavish said he had no intention of remaining with the authority if the proposed plan was not approved.

The rehabilitation plan also includes establishing a Web site to compete with commercial news sites, transformation of TV channel 33 into a 24 hour Arabic language channel, repair of the radio broadcasting network and restructuring of the Broadcast Authority management.