Channel 10 Won't Be Opened to New Tender, for Now

It appears that the Second Authority for Television and Radio won't be putting Channel 10 up for new bids. After two days of preparation, the channel's directors submitted a commitment Wednesday to invest NIS 19 million in television content, NIS 4 million more than their previous offer.

In addition, the channel agreed to put forward more of the money it had committed to provide for dramatic productions.

The authority council was to meet yesterday to vote on the new commitment. Over the last few months, it had warned Channel 10 several times that it would publish a tender to operate the channel, but kept postponing the decision.

If a tender were issued, the winning bidder would go on the air next February. At the meeting Wednesday, Channel 10 was asked to improve several other aspects of its offer, but it seems the authority is inclined to keep working with it.

Meanwhile, the channel will continue discussing the matter of film funding with the finance and communication ministries, which are still unpleased with its offer.

In a meeting Wednesday with the authority and Channel 10 representatives, artist guild representatives said they would petition the High Court of Justice if the agreement does not take them into account.

Channel 10 owes between NIS 24 million and 36 million in money it had promised toward film productions.

Channel 10 owner Yossi Maimon said two months ago that he intends to close the station because of its debts. Since then, the employees have demonstrated in front of government offices, and the homes of the treasury and communication ministers, calling on them to save the channel.

Representatives of the government, the authority, and the channel have met to find an arrangement to allow the channel to continue broadcasting.

The first decision to close the channel was made this January, before the national elections, by the Knesset Finance Committee. At the time, the channel accused the committee of opportunism, as the meeting was attended by only three members.