The new Public Broadcast Corporation Law has been approved, under which the current Israel Broadcast Authority (IBA) and Educational TV will be closed, and replaced by a new broadcast entity within a year.
Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan’s bill passed with a majority of 45 to 11, with one abstention. Under the new law, the television license fee will be cancelled over the next year.
To a great degree, it was the opposition members who made passing the law possible, including Meretz, Shas, and Labor, who supported it, while Likud members were absent from the Knesset benches. Only five other members of Erdan’s party were present during the session.
The new entity will include three new television channels - Hebrew, Arabic, and a children’s channel, and eight radio stations. Kol Israel and Channel One will be shut down, and the new media channels will be built from scratch.
1,700 Broadcast Authority workers will be fired, and at least 190 of them will be employed by the new entity.
In 2015-2016 the Broadcast Authority’s budget will be NIS 665 million, not including advertising revenue (which is currently NIS 80-100 million). The assumption is that, with time, advertising revenue will increase. From 2017, the budget will drop to NIS 650 million. Broadcast sponsorship and radio advertising will remain, but there will be a ban on subliminal advertising in children’s content and online.
The television fee will be replaced by Ministry of Finance funding. In order not to create a dependency upon the state budget for financing the corporation, the NIS 650 million annual funding will be transferred directly from the vehicle license fee, which will not be raised. The establishment of the new public broadcast body will be financed from selling the IBA's real estate.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 30, 2014
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