SWEDES INTERESTED IN THE BULGARIAN TV MARKET
The Swedish Modern Times Group has sent a letter to the Council for Electronic Media, expressing its interest towards the Bulgarian TV market. The document arrived at the council on Wednesday (May 11), its member Margaritta Pesheva said. A company in which the Scandinavian media group (the owner of TV 1000 that is well-known in Bulgaria) holds shares, has already participated in a procedure for licensing a Bulgarian national television. In 2000 Media Broadcasting Services, represented by Kevork Kevorkyan (a famous TV star in this country), was among the competitors for the second private national television. In the spring of 2003, however, Mr. Kevorkyan gave up further participation in the contest by a letter to the Commission for Regulation of Communications (CRC), which had been authorized to finalize the procedure. Ms. Pesheva added that the Council for Electronic Media had redirected the letter to the CRC. During the visit of Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Italy in May it became clear that Mediaset Group - a company of Italy's PM Slivio Berlusconi - had announced interest in the opportunity for setting up a television in Bulgaria. Meanwhile, the German RTL also sent a letter of investment intent to the Bulgarian President, Premier, National Assembly, and the two media regulatory bodies.However, the entering of the three foreign companies on the Bulgarian TV market is currently impossible, because the procedure for choosing a third national TV operator is still going on. It began in 2000 and neither of the three media companies was among the participants in it. As the BANKER weekly has already written, in May the CRC invited for participation in the final stage only those companies, who had already been licensed for broadacting a national TV programme. Willingness for participation has been expressed as well by the Czech Nova Holding (successor of MEF Holding), one more Swedish firm - TB2, the Greek owners of Nova Televiziya, and the Shoumen-based regional channel Top TV. However, it is very likely that the latter would not be allowed to compete, because its licence is for cable and satellite broadcasting only and not for airing. June 23 is the deadline for submission of applications. The only way for admitting new players in the competition for the third national television is to amend the Radio and TV Act. The amendments, proposed by the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Commission on Mass Media Milena Milotinova and some MPs of the ruling majority, which they have been trying to pass since the beginning of the year, are on these line. For the time being, however, the drafters meet the resistance of deputies from the The New Time discussion club (within the NMSII), who succeeded a month ago to block the moving of the bill to the plenary hall for approval.