Slovenian government discusses RTV funding

By Matevz Rudolf
    The Slovenian parliament will adress underfunding and organizational structure of public broadcaster RTV.

    RTV (www.rtv.si) director Anton Guzej stated that in 2008, "all funds were used rationally and a review shows that we did not have a negative financial budget. In the last four years we received the same amount of money and each year we haven't spent more than we got, even though many other public institutions had big troubles because of this." When Guzej began his post at the station, RTV had a debt of around €5 million. Today, Guzej says, the station is debt-free.

    Because of the financial crisis in Slovenia, the station will be forced to look for new ways to cut costs on all levels. Some 100 employees will be let go, leaving 1900 in place by the end of the year. Some non-essential employees were let go in 2008.

    RTV expects a drop of 10-15 % in advertising revenues, to some €20 million. However, the total income of RTV in 2009 is expected to be around €120 million, or 1.4% higher than 2008. The slight increase is due to higher license fees which all TV households must pay, an additional €1 per month, which will bring an additional €5 million in revenues to the station. License fees, or subscriptions, represent around 70% of RTV's income and budget. The station does not plan changes in program, although production costs will be under scrutiny. Industry experts warn that financial changes are necessary for the long-term outlook.

    The Minister of Culture has named a group of specialist to prepare the draft for a new law on public broadcasting which, she stresses, will bring a more democratic organization to RVT.