Return of RTVE advertising would hit commercial broadcasters, says bank

A report by Spain’s CaixaBank has found that a move by the Spanish government to bring advertising back to public broadcaster RTVE could cost commercial broadcasters Atresmedia and Mediaset up to €185 million a year. The CaixaBank calculation is based on a return to the status quo ante of 2009, when RTVE lost its rights to sell commercials.

CaixaBank also found that a partial return of advertising  in prime time only could cost the pair €68 million without solving the financial problems besetting the pubcaster.

A third option, which would see RTVE capture a 6% of the ad market via programming sponsorship, could be more attractive for the public broadcaster, according to the bank, but would still lead to the commercial broadcasters losing €78 million between them.

CaixaBank’s report comes after consumer advocacy group the Asociación de Usuarios de la Comunicación (AUC) last month called for a partial return of advertising or a clarification of sponsorship rules to aid the financially struggling public broadcaster.

In other Spanish news, senators from the governing Spanish Popular Party have withdrawn a motion calling for the government to intervene to prevent competition regulator the CNMC from forcing Telefónica to open up its fibre network to rival operators.

Telefónica has been under pressure from the watchdog on two fronts – in fibre, where it is being obliged to open its network to rivals in all but nine heavily wired cities, and in TV, where it is facing calls to make its content available to third-party operators as a condition for approval of its acquisition of pay TV unit Canal+ from Prisa.

Telefónica has threatened to pull out of the Canal+ acquisition if the conditions are too onerous, and to cancel planned investment in fibre if it is forced to share its network, leading to the Popular Party senators taking action.

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