TVP faces funding crisis

By Katarzyna Grynienko

    Polish public broadcaster Telewizja Polska SA (TVP, www.tvp.pl) is seeking a 50 million PLN bank credit to maintain financial liquidity. Since the begining of the year, the station has undergone structural changes, including employee down-sizing that could reach 1,000 people by the end of 2010.

    In May 2010, TVP asked the Polish Ministry of the Treasury (www.msp.gov.pl) for a 100 million PLN credit line that would "optimize the management of the financial funds during the crisis period." Hoowever, the Ministry found that the motion did not provide enough information about how the money would have been spent and pointed only to general actions that TVP would take with the loan.

    Currently the company is looking for a private bank for the 50 million PLN credit to deal with the most urgent financial needs. The public broadcaster has no other means of coping with the crisis since its major source of funds are the TV fees from the Polish citizens.

    "TVP needs the money, because it recieves hardly any of the TV fees, which are the main source of the company's financing. We are now facing the summer season, also called the advertising hole," explained Bogusław Szwedo, chairman of TVPs Board of Supervisors.

    According to data presented by the National Broadcasting Council (www.krrit.gov.pl) only 43.5 % of Polish households are paying the obligatory fees while over 13% are leagally released from the payments. TVP is planning on repaying the loan in the 3 next years, based on the changes made within the company's structure and new financing solutions established by the long awaited new media bill.