Televisión Española (“TVE”, the Spanish public TV station) is faced with a new financing plan, put forward by the current government, the “Draft bill for financing of Spanish Radio and Television Corporation”. According to this bill, TVE would no longer display TV commercials. Advertisement income will be replaced by income from a tax on telecommunication operators and on private TV channels.
That is, TVE no longer needs to compete for the audience to ensure its income: All its financing is guaranteed by law, coming from national budget, and from mandatory taxes on private companies.
Therefore, if TVE requires not to compete with its programming against other TV channels, will TVE cease to broadcast rubbish? There is no longer any excuse to broadcast stupid contest shows, gossip TV shows, variety shows, TV fiction, or for paying broadcast rights of sports events, or for showing any programming which only goal is to attract an audience, regardless of any public utility.
The only reason for a public TV channel to exist is so public interest programming can be broadcast. Will they show now documentaries on literature, history, technology, or nature? Will they show programming explaining how the institutions of the State work? When will they start broadcasting a daily show summarising the daily activity of parliament, so people can see everything that our politicians do, instead of being informed of the occasional scandal? Likewise, will they broadcast a program to inform of the debates in the European parliament, and another one explaining the Spanish people the workings of the European Union, and how Spain is affected by it?
There are loads of important topics to fill the public TV’s schedule.
Furthermore, the cost of such programming would be far less than the current music shows, variety shows, TV series, etc, which fill up current TVE broadcasts. The new financing model makes it possible to stop paying for broadcast rights, whether music, sports, or any other programming.
Will we see new programming on TVE, when the new financing model is implemented? Unfortunately, I very much doubt it. I hope to be corrected when the time comes later in 2009 to end advertisements in TVE.