Channel 10 Still Scrambling to Renew Operating License

Dutch television production company acquires 33% of Channel 2’s Reshet franchise.

Inbal Marmari

The Second Television and Radio Authority, which regulates commercial television, decided on Thursday to defer granting Channel 10 an extension of its broadcast license, which is currently due to expire at the beginning of next year.

The authority’s council refrained from renewing the station’s franchise due to its troubled financial state. Channel 10’s current shareholders, investor Yossi Maiman and Israeli Hollywood movie producer Arnon Milchan, are not currently inclined to pump additional money into the venture, but the station is in talks with other investors, including Alexander Levin, who owns Channel 9, a Russian-language station, to take a stake in Channel 10. It is thought that the ailing station requires at least 300 million shekels ($85.8 million) in new funding.

Channel 10 filed its application for its license renewal at the end of December and by law the Second Television and Radio Authority has three months to respond, meaning that technically a response is due at the end of March. Legal sources in the industry have said the only way the approval could come beyond March is if the law is changed, but the television authority staff apparently still hope to grant a license to the station once a new investor is lined up.

In another industry development, the television authority council gave final approval Thursday for the Dutch television production company Endemol, whose programs include the worldwide hit “Big Brother,” to acquire a 33% stake in Reshet, one of the two Channel 2 franchises. Reshet will be getting a 100 million shekel injection as a result.

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