Keshet Applies for TV Broadcast License

Last-minute application assures there will be three commercial stations when new law goes into effect in November 2017.

Keshet employees.
Pini Sluk

Three broadcasters will make up commercial television in Israel, after Keshet — the main franchise that shares Channel 2 with Reshet, —applied on Monday for a license to broadcast seven days a week.

Keshet’s application with the Second Television Authority came on the last possible day it could file and two weeks after Reshet applied for its own seven-day-a-week license.

“The decision to move to the new licensing framework is first and foremost an expression of confidence by the shareholders and board in the company’s staff and Keshet’s ability to continue to thrive,” Keshet said, acknowledging “the conditions of uncertainty in the Israeli commercial television market.”

Under the Law for Licensing and Dividing Channel 2, Channel 2 will cease broadcasting as of November 2017. In its place will be three commercial broadcasters – Keshet, Reshet and Channel 10, which already operates a full schedule. They will occupy channels 12-16 on cable television.

Industry observers say it will inaugurate a new era of stiff competition between the broadcasters and big losses as each of them carry the costs of a 24/7 schedule and competing for a shrinking audience and advertising spending. Attempts at a merger between two of them over the last several months failed.

However, Keshet and Reshet will continue to share their combined news operations for the next three years, as the law allows, which will save money for both of them.