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news 07 Nov 13

Serbia Allocates 65 Million Euro to Broadcasters

The budget for 2014 sets aside 65 million euro for the two public service broadcasters, which failed to make a go of it on advertising money and subscription fees.

BIRN, Beta

Serbia's two public service broadcasters, Radio Television of Serbia, RTS, and Radio Television of Vojvodina, RTV, will get a total of 65 million euro next year under the planned 2014 budget.

State financing of the broadcasters will eliminate the need for public subscription. It comes after the funds thus raised proved insufficient for the two networks to operate.

Both broadcasters came close to financial meltdown; neither appears able to survive on TV licence fees or on advertising revenue.

According to latest data, only 30 per cent of people in Serbia have been paying their TV licence fee of 5 euro a month.

Budget backing will be introduced with a new law on public broadcasters, currently in procedure.

The Ministry of Culture and Information says the draft Law on Public Broadcasters will be put before the government shortly after November 15.

The 2014 budget also envisions 62,000 euro for reporting in the languages of national minorities, 12,400 euro for Serbian electronic media in Kosovo, and 1.5 million euro for state-owned media.

The budget also sets aside 11.8 million euro for the country to switch from analogue to digital signal.

The transition to digital broadcasting in television has been completed in 21 countries in Europe.

But the process in Serbia has been slowed, partly for lack of frequencies to test network parameters and equipment to digitally air TV signals.

Serbia should have finished digitalization by April 2012, but this has been postponed to June 17, 2015. This date represents the final deadline to replace the analogue TV signal with digital in Europe in general.

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