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Spanish commercial channels call for level playing field

Andrés Armas

Andrés Armas

UTECA, the body that represents Spanish TV commercial terrestrial channels, has called on the next government to limit the amount of advertising on pay TV channels amidst claims that the current rules favour the pay sector.

Currently, pay TV channels can air over 12 minutes of advertising per hour, while the free-to-air channels of Atresmedia and Mediaset are restricted.

UTECA president Andrés Armas said a change was necessary to ensure competitive equality. The body has called for the government to limit the number of minutes of advertising permitted to channels distributed by operators such as Movistar, Orange and Vodafone.

Spanish competition watchdog the CNMC levied a number of sanctions against the commercial channels last year for breaching the advertising limits on their channels.

UTECA also rejected calls for the restoration of advertising on public broadcaster RTVE’s channels, arguing that the pubcaster had not taken any measures to restructure its operations and cut costs.

Armas has also called on the government to allocate terrestrial spectrum to private broadcasters in a way that does not set limits on the number of channels that can be offered over that spectrum, following the various reversals suffered by terrestrial broadcasters that have had their licences thrown into question by the country’s Supreme Court.

UTECA also called for a revision of the law regarding the financing of Spanish audiovisual works by broadcasters, calling for more equal treatment between TV production and support for Spanish cinema.