Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

A DOZEN TV CHANNELS MAKE READY FOR A START

ANOTHER BROADCAST CHANNEL TO BEGIN OPERATIONS IN SOFIAThe first Bulgarian television to broadcast authors' films about tourism and journeys will start operations in September, the registers of the Council for Electronic Media (CEM) reveal. TTV declared it would be on air from the beginning of the month, but later requested that the starting date be postponed, Licenses and Registrations department officials explained. The TV channel will be distributed through cable networks and via satellite. It will transmit 24-hour programming. The media is 60% owned by the 60-year-old German Hans Helmut. The rest of the shares are property of Bulgarians - Mariana Velikova and Dimitar Zapryanov who also organizes karate and paintball courses.The Council for Electronic Media permitted the registration of twelve more cable and satellite channels which announced plans to start working by the end of the year. One of them, Fox Life, already started operations last week. The channel is owned by Fox International Channels, a US company of the billionaire Rupert Murdoch who is also considered the owner of the broadcast bTV. The remaining eleven programs are about to start work soon, the council explained. Just one of them, TVS, that will be distributed on the territory of the municipalities of Gorna Oryahovitsa, Lyaskovets and the village of Parvomaitsi, wants to make programming of social orientation. All the rest registered as trade operators. The biggest number of registrations has been carried out by televisions oriented towards a variety of themes (5). There are also two applications for music channels and two - for paid film channels. The council also received applications for registration of two televisions, Estate TV and Bulga TV, which haven't been reviewed yet.We should note that the cable television market in smaller Bulgarian towns is growing excited, the CEM member Maria Stefanova commented. So far it was traditionally considered that investors prefer Sofia and the big cities. However, there is a growing number of people willing to finance the creation of programs that will be broadcast in smaller towns. I guess it corresponds to the interests of the local business, since it is mostly a matter of trade operators registration. I think that the trend is also related to the delay of licensing processes in the field of broadcast televisions. As it is known, for more than five years the state has not allowed that even one new free program be established. Eventually, people welcome the growing interest in regional cable channels as these channels will mainly occupy with the problems in smaller towns.Apart from the region of Veliko Turnovo, the territory around Smolyan and Kurdzhali will have a new regional TV called BSat soon, too. Pleven Sprint will be specialized in covering events that take place in Pleven, Lovech, Rousse and Vratsa. Evgenii Todorov, former official of the Bulgarian National Television and of its Plovdiv regional centre, gained permission from the council and will try to revive the Plovdiv public Trakiya television. It stopped broadcasting because of financial reasons some time ago and according to Todorov's plans will now be distributed by cable. The new television bearing that name will have a commercial profile. Vereya 1 is another channel that should be on air from October. The TV will be based in Stara Zagora, but will be broadcast to the entire country.Two new broadcast channels are expected to appear in Sofia by the end of September. About one of them, TV 7, which will inherit the currently operating Seven Days the BANKER weekly already wrote. The other one will be called GTV and will be distributed in Sofia at the frequency which the program of the US giant CNN used in the past and which has not been utilized for years. In the other parts of Bulgaria the channel will be transmitted by cable and via satellite. Miroslava Boneva, bTV General Manager Albert Parsons' wife, will run GTV. The media is property of Triada Communications, registered by Krassimir Gergov, owner of the Kress advertising agency and the Piero 97 media agency, years ago. This is why, although the Radio and Television Act forbids ad agencies owners to hold stakes in electronic media, the broadcast channel is associated with the interests of the well-known businessman. As the BANKER weekly already wrote, because of the new executive director Roumen Artarski and because of part of the newly-appointed members of the Managing Board, TV 7 is also considered within the interests of the advertising boss. In an interview Gergov gave some time ago, he himself implied he was involved in the changes that went on in the media.CEM REJECTS THE PUBLISHER OF ZEMYA NEWSPAPERThe Council for Electronic Media will not allow Dimitar Ivanov, publisher of the Zemya daily and the Home Journal weekly, to register a cable and satellite television channel named 7 Days TV, the CEM member Maria Stefanova announced. The reason is that the media supervision body already approved the change in the name of the Sofia broadcast channel Seven Days into TV 7. If we allow the registration of 7 Days TV as well, two TVs with similar names and logos (TV 7 and 7 Days TV) will appear on the market at the same time. That will cause embarrassment among the viewers who are not obliged to know which channel is broadcast and which - a cable one. That's why we'll ask Mr. Ivanov to rename his channel.A week ago Dimitar Ivanov presented the team that will operate his new media. It includes a great number of former hosts of publicistic programs in Seven Days - Nikolay Kolev from the TV's morning program, the channel's former executive director Petko Todorov who will be director of the new channel as well, Nikolay Konakchiev, Velizar Enchev, etc.Apart from establishing the new TV channel, Dimitar Ivanov also announced an ambitious program for overall expansion of his media property. The publisher, also known as a former head of department in the former State Security, explained that the two print editions and the television are part of the 7 Days Zemya media consortium. He also said that a new radio station, another cable channel with medical orientation and a monthly political digest called Republica will be added to the consortium soon. The digest will be socially and liberally oriented and will defend patriotism, the republican idea and the Bulgarian ethnic model, the consortium owner said. Several years ago he published a daily called Republica. The businessman also used to publish Duma daily for some time but the newspaper went bankrupt. As the BANKER weekly informed, after the bankruptcy of the paper Ivanov's distribution company, VEAS Newspaper Association - Europe, was declared insolvent, too, and left huge debts to several Bulgarian papers.According to Petko Todorov, Executive Director of the new cable TV, Dimitar Ivanov is not going to buy an existing radio but will wait for the state to announce a competition for distribution of new frequencies. Todorov explained that he already talked with members of the Parliament who assured him that competitions of that kind will be organized soon. As it is known, the state is currently forbidding the licensing of new broadcast TV and radio stations. I was promised that we would be given a chance to defend a concept for a new radio, Todorov explained.

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