Private TV stations slam Czech TV's ads and sports investments

Klára Brachtlová
Klára Brachtlová, president of the Association of Commercial Television. Photo: AKTV. The photo was modified from the original format using a generative extension.

The Association of Commercial Television has outlined its ideas on what public service media should look like in the Czech Republic. Private stations take issue with advertising and sponsorship in Czech Television's broadcasting, as well as investments in sports rights.

"We receive inquiries about whether we want to liquidate public service media. That is definitely not our goal; coexistence with them is very important to us, especially in today's complex geopolitical situation. We have been saying the same thing from the beginning. Let's look at it conceptually, define the role of public service media, and from that, we can determine how much money they need," said the association's president, Klára Brachtlová, in an interview with iDnes.

Private stations consider two areas crucial - the definition of public service and its financing.

"In our opinion, it is appropriate to ask whether Czech Television should invest exorbitant sums, for example, in very expensive sports competitions, which are usually broadcast by commercial sports channels abroad. It is understandable that when viewers get used to similar content available for free on public sports channel, it would be very unpopular to stop broadcasting it," Brachtlová noted.

"Commercial media are existentially dependent on advertising revenues. Therefore, we believe that public service media should be financed either from license fees or from the state budget and should not have the tendency or opportunity to profit and generate revenue from advertising," the president of the Association of Commercial Television continued.

"We do not want to weaken Czech Television by taking away its advertising; that is only a small part of it. In the area of commercial revenues, sponsorship is a bigger issue for us. The range of sponsorship messages on Czech Television is now almost interchangeable with an advertising block. The law is not being violated, but it is being de facto circumvented in this way, and we think that this was not originally intended," the television manager argued.

The Czech Television Act currently allows the use of advertising and sponsorship only as a supplementary income for public service television. Broadcasting of advertising is allowed on ČT2 and ČT Sport channels, with a limit of 0.5% of daily broadcasting time (about seven minutes per day). During prime time from 7 pm to 10 pm, there must not be more than 6 minutes of advertising in one broadcasting hour.

According to the law, Czech Television must transfer revenues from the sale of advertising on the ČT2 program to the State Cultural Fund and cannot use them for its own needs. Revenues from advertising on ČT Sport are used by the television to produce and broadcast programs with sports themes.

There are no restrictions on sponsorship, and courts have accepted that the content of messages can be essentially the same as regular advertising if it does not include a call for direct purchase.

Czech Television's budget for this year assumes that total revenues from advertising will reach 130 million CZK, while sponsorship and product placement in programs will bring in another 324 million CZK.

"We are still waiting for feedback; the Ministry of Culture is apparently working on something, but unfortunately, we do not know the current status," added Klára Brachtlová.

You may also like: