Technomarket, Zora and Technopolis to compete for BGN7.5MN
Along with the forthcoming transition from analogue to digital TV signal from September 1 next year a lot of money will be spent. Besides the advertising for the digital services now is also approaching the time of the distribution of millions of levs to provide decoders for poorer citizens.
Just days ago, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has released for public consultation on its website a document entitled Digital Television Decoders for Low-Income Households in Bulgaria. It reveals that about 260 thousand families, defined and approved by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, that will receive aid for heating during the winter, will be supported by the state also for television.
These households are probably the ones with the lowest incomes and now receive free TV content via terrestrial analogue broadcasting, and some of the free satellite channels. It is assumed that they cannot spend money to buy a digital decoder or a new TV set with a built-in decoder. With the termination of the analogue signal if no appropriate measures are taken, there is a serious risk that many of them may be deprived of all access to television content, the experts said.
The Transitional and Final Provisions of the state budget for 2012 envisage the spending of 17.5 million levs on the purchase of decoders. But by a decree of the Council of Ministers of January 18 this year, only 7.5 million lev of these funds were transferred to the budget of the transport ministry. The idea was the state to buy directly these devices and make them available to those in need. But now the scheme has changed - any socially weak household will be given a voucher that can be used to purchase equipment, according to the decision of the - terrestrial, cable, satellite or IPTV television. Vouchers will have a nominal value of 60 lev, and this target price has been determined after preliminary discussions with traders, importing and selling such devices. If the decoder is more expensive than the face value of the voucher, the difference will have to be paid additionally. And here we come to the interesting part - the Transport Ministry will organize a tender for the selection of those traders who it has consulted. It has already made an informal study of the market, has sent a letter of inquiry to the major retail chains for appliances for the presence of terminal devices and what their retail prices are. They were asked to declare non-binding interest in participating in the scheme to sell decoders against vouchers. The contract itself will be organized into six lots, corresponding to the six planning regions and a possible separation of the capital Sofia in a separate lot.
A leading criterion for screening participants will be the largest possible number of stores for the region. This means that it is more than clear that the big chains on the market - Technomareket, Technopolis and Zora will be the main bidders, as they have the best network of stores.