Israeli producer Haim Slutzky is in advanced negotiations with Bloomberg L.P. for establishing a business news television channel in Israel.
The channel would be recognized as a commercial "micro channel" and will run with ads. The owner of the daily Maariv newspaper, Eli Azur, might enter the deal as a partner.
Slutzky says the decision has still not been finalized and it depends on Bloomberg's representatives abroad. At this stage, Slutzky is working to find candidates for a CEO who would establish and run the channel.
Slutzky also owns Israel's Channel 8, the Entertainment Channel on HOT and the children's channels.
There have been several attempts in the past to found a business channel in Israel, but the only model that enabled this was a satellite cable channel that subscribers would pay for, but that model was found to not be financially sustainable.
In Israel, broadcast media was owned by the state for decades and the market opened for competition among private operators in the 1990s.
In February, the Knesset changed the law governing Israel's broadcast market and created greater de-regularization. The so-called 'Channel 20 law' relieved Channel 20 – which was founded in 2014 under a license to operate as a television station for “heritage” programs only – of its regulatory commitments and turned it into a commercial television channel that can air anything. This law created a precedent allowing commercial channels to be established without regulating their content.
According to the revised law, "micro channels," which are allowed to run ads, can be established as long as they make less than 80 million shekels ($21 million).
Israel has two types of channels that are allowed to broadcast ads, commercial (Channel 12, Channel 13 and Channel 10) and designated (the Russian Channel 9, music Channel 24, Jewish Heritage Channel 20 and Arabic Hala TV).
If the Israeli business channel's operation will come to fruition, it will be the first micro channel and the first channel to compete with the commercial ones.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now