TV-stations boycot digital broadcasting

By Matevz Rudolf
    Commercial channels POP TV (http://poptv.si/), Kanal A (www.kanal-a.si) and TV Pika (www.tvpika.net) have been disconnected from Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial (dvb-t) which is controlled by public broadcaster RTV (www.rtvslo.si).

    The three commercial TV-stations (all of which are owned by Pro Plus) have not signed the new contract for digital broadcasting and were disconnected on April 8.

    Pro Plus is objecting to the high rates charged for digital broadcasting and suggest that those costs should be paid by the government.

    Pro Plus Deputy Director Pavel Vrabec said, "Pro Plus is willing to invest in Slovenians TV digitalization project, but not for costs that are unacceptable. Now we have to pay for analogue as well as digital broadcasting."

    Slovenia's director of Electronic Communications Matjaž Janša responded that he doesn't know any case in Europe where the government is paying those costs.

    A rise in the rates was the cause for the stalemate. Last year RTV, in cooperation with the Post and Electronic Communications Agency of the Republic of Slovenia, set a price of €6,500 per month for broadcasting one channel while the system was in its testing phase. Now that the system is no longer in the testing phase, RTV has raised the price to €17,000 which Pro Plus' commercial TV-stations have rejected.

    At this time only RTV's channels (two main channels and three smaller, regional channels) are included in the Slovenian digital multiplex.