PR Newswire

Greece Raises 246 million Euros in First Public Auction of Broadcasting Licenses

Friday, Sep 02, 2016

ATHENS, Greece, Sept. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Greece concluded a first-of-its-kind auction for national television licenses following an international tender process that drew more interest than projected and raised far more for the country than expected.

The process drew 11 participants. Four participants received broadcast licenses, which last for ten years and sold for an average of EU 61.5 million.

This auction fell under the auspices of an agreement between Greece and its international creditors to streamline the TV media market. It ends 27 years of legal ambiguity, in which private TV stations operated under temporary licenses of dubious legitimacy. This legal ambiguity had been repeatedly criticized by Greece's top Constitutional Court.

The new process provides 10-year licenses, brings revenue to the Greek government and ensures that media ownership is transparent and financially sound. "The Greek Government has acted decisively and fairly to open up and streamline the unregulated ad hoc chaos that existed within the TV market and we have done so in a transparent and unimpeachable manner,'' said Minister of State Nikos Pappas. He said the auction process "provides a blueprint of how Greece can move forward in attracting foreign investment, by allowing investors to know what the rules are and that they apply equally to all.

"Greece is open for investment, and investors will seize these opportunities,'' Mr. Pappas said. "The success of this process and  the staggering amount of 246 million Euros -that far exceeded any estimation prior to the auction- is a definite vote of business confidence in the country, one that marks a milestone as we move forward."

Mr. Pappas said the unregulated media market, which had included eight broadcasters, encouraged corruption among public officials and institutions. He said that, rather than run broadcasting units with the intent of turning a profit, some of the stations existed as corporate loss-leaders whose only reason to exist was to influence political figures and events."

In addition, Greece plans to set up a government agency to oversee the sale of all broadcast advertising. In return, the government will take a 30% advertising commission on all sales between broadcasters and advertisers, up from the current 10% commission. Mr. Pappas said the goal of a central, state-supervised advertising marketplace was to curb tax evasion.

(Release issued by the Government of Greece)

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SOURCE Government of Greece

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