BNT ASKS FOR FREQUENCY IN SOFIA
The Bulgarian National Television (BNT) is interested in using a regional frequency free for the city and the area of Sofia, the Council for Electronic Media announced. On July 3, the press office of the council added that the general director of the state-owned station, Ulyana Prumova, sent a letter to the CEM members on the issue. Interest of this kind is motivated by the need of a public TV channel operating on the territory of Sofia and oriented towards the problems of the city, the letter reads. In practice, regional TV centres of BNT in Plovdiv, Varna, Rousse and Blagoevgrad - Bulgaria's four big cities - fulfil this function with their regional programs. However, in the capital there are no specialized programs working in support of the municipal problems, security, social and cultural policy of the city with over one million citizens. The Bulgarian National Radio applied for a frequency on the territory of Sofia, too, being a public operator.
Mrs. Prumova explained the request by saying that the main purpose written in the strategy of the National Assembly on development of the radio and TV sector was the efficient usage of radio frequency spectrum in defence of the public interest and free initiative while taking into account the media structures already built.
At first sight, BNT's stand to take part in the distribution of the remaining frequency resource differs from the position of the two private national channels - BTV and Nova Television, which declared themselves against the competitions and further distribution of free air. They explained that it would make it more difficult for the TV channels to pass from analogue to digital format which they are expected to do in the future. As it is known, after 2012 electronic media in the European Union will have to operate in digital format.
At the same time, however, BNT's request fits quite well the interests of the owners of the two private media. If eventually CEM decides to give a separate regional frequency in Sofia to the state-owned television, the move will impede another private operator from entering the market and competing with those who are on it now. If at the same time the three remaining frequencies offered for competition remain in the hands of their current users - GTV, Seven Days and CTN, which hold temporary letters of attorney, the status in the capital city will practically stay unchanged. Undoubtedly, that will be well accepted by both BTV and Nova Television which are the current leaders on the Bulgarian advertising market.