For the first time in several years, Greek public broadcaster ERT will spend about $ 1.3 m per year for co-producing films with the Greek Film Center and private producers. In the past, ERT was not able to invest into domestic film production because of its financial deficit. ERT is the poorest public broadcaster in Europe alongside with Portugal’s RTP, since neither country has a stand-alone licence fee. Despite the fact that public TV in Greece is also underfunded compared to Greek commercial broadcasters, with this move ERT gains the lead over private channels in the production area. Private competitors, on the other hand, will have to be forced by law to invest 1.5% of their annual gross income in domestic film production.
Finally, the long lasting dispute between Greek actors and film-makers on one side and Greek producers on the other side over the payment of royalties for films broadcasted on television seems to be settled out-of-court. Until now, actors and film-makers tried to receive royalties from the production companies which have earned rental fees from the national TV stations. After a court had recently ruled that local TV stations have to be barred from broadcasting Greek productions as long as the producers refuse to pay royalties to the film-makers, now both sides agreed to pool their efforts in seeking royalties from the local commercial stations that show Greek films.
Although Greek television broadcasting has been deregulated in the past, in 1995 a new Media Law passed the Parliament covering most aspects of the media sector. A total number of only five national commercial TV stations will be allowed. In order to prevent concentration in the media market, an individual or a company can not have interests in more than one TV station, two radio stations or one newspaper. They are only entitled to have interests in two of these three categories. This means that one is entitled to own one radio station and one TV station, but not a daily newspaper at the same time, or one daily newspaper and one TV station, but not a radio station at the same time, etc. Moreover, no shareholder can hold more than 25% in a national TV channel, and no foreign holding can exceed 25% of the authorised capital.
© June 1996 by Jens Barkemeyer