Future of Israel's Channel 10 to Be Decided Sunday

Commercial station needs to find $9.1 million for franchise and distribution fees before its license can be renewed.

Alon Ron

The Second Television and Radio Authority will convene on Sunday for a dramatic session that will shape the future of Israeli commercial television. The council will decide whether to grant concessions to financially troubled Channel 10, which could permit it to remain on the air next year.

Time is particularly of the essence due to the requirement that any easing of conditions for the station be approved by the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, which is scheduled to meet tomorrow for the last time before the campaign for the upcoming Knesset election gets into full swing.

At the center of the debate over the future of Channel 10 is whether the Second Television Authority will reduce the station’s requirement to produce 280 million shekels ($71 million) in original content to 120 million shekels.

Sixty million shekels of this would consist of news broadcast production, the other 60 million of other high-quality programming.

Of additional immediate concern is 36 million shekels in franchise and distribution fees that the station owes for this year, which will have to be paid before its license can be extended.

Officials at the station hope a new potential investor in the station, Shlomo Nechama – a former chairman of Bank Hapoalim and Arison Investments – will come through with the necessary funds. Yossi Maimon is the station’s controlling shareholder.

In another media sector development, it has been announced that Yaakov Eilon – who previously presented the main evening television news on Channel 2 and then later on Channel 10 – will replace Meirav Miller and Amir Ivgi as the main news presenter on Channel 1’s “Mabat” evening newscast. Miller and Ivgi will present daily election programming in the run-up to the Knesset election in March.

Eilon left Channel 10 in February 2012, claiming that the broadcast facilities at the new Channel 10 news studios in Jerusalem were inadequate.