Serbian state TV raising fees

NEWS 10.05.2018 21:38
Source: N1

The Serbian state radio TV (RTS) has raised the fees it charges for the distribution of its programmes outside the country to a level much higher than what the United Group is charged to broadcast the BBC.

 The United Group which distributes RTS programmes in the Western Balkans said that the new price list is unacceptable. The RTS is demanding 0.09 Euro per subscriber in Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina and up to 0.50 Euro in other countries which is 27 times what other public broadcasters are charging. The United Group pays 0.0052 Euro per subscriber to broadcast the BBC which is 96 times less than what the RTS wants to charge.  

The RTS is also demanding higher fees for non-standard services in Serbia such as delayed viewing or mobile platforms.

The RTS CEO did not want to comment for N1, only saying that the price list is the same for all distributors.

“Our understanding is that the fees for public media services are based on the principle of widest possible access so that the largest number of members of the specific national community the public service is directed can get information about the most important events in the country of their origin. We also feel that the fees charged by the RTS should be based on the same principle,” United Group Vice-President Dragica Pilipovic Chaffey said.  

If the new higher fees remain in place, the RTS some distributors could stop broadcasting and that has already happened in Croatia where the head of the Serb National Council Milorad Pupovac was offered an alternative – the RTS Planet which is still on a test run – by the Serbian public broadcasters CEO. Pupovac said that this is a problem for Serbs in parts of Croatia.

The RTS plans to bring in a private company to collect the fees which the Croatian HRT, Italian RAI and Greek ERT charge through the European Broadcasting Union which the Serbian public broadcaster has left.  

United Group representatives were told at a meeting with the RTS management that the Serbian public broadcaster has a draft contract with a private company which will collect the fees for the broadcasting of its programmes. RTS CEO Dragan Bujosevic said that the draft contract has been submitted to the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media and the Competition Protection Commission for an opinion, Pilipovic Chaffey said.  

N1 was told by the Competition Protection Commission that they never received the draft contract.