On September 2nd, after 63 hours of bidding, the Greek government awarded the 4 broadcasting licenses for national television channels it had put up for auction as part of its major broadcasting reform.
Beginning on August 30th the auction was held under very strict, closely watched conditions. With the final bids in, three businessmen and an entrepreneur now each have a license to run a private, general-interest television channel for 10 years. The sale of these 4 licenses will generate €246 million for the Greek government: the starting bid for each was €3 million.
From the four successful bids there will be two new channels: the first, Alter Ego, is a project by businessman Vangelis Marinakis, also Chairman of Olympiakos, a soccer club. The second is headed by Christos Kalogritsas, an entrepreneur who made his fortune in construction.
The other two bids were made by the owners of existing channels ANT1 and Skai, respectively Theodore Kiriakou and Yiannis Alafouzos. Each retains his current broadcasting license, which until now they didn’t have to pay for.
The six other private channels broadcasting in Greece are now threatened, since “any channel operating without a license must stop broadcasting within 90 days”, said Olga Gerovassilis, government spokesperson.
By decreasing the number of private channels from 8 to 4, the government officially wants to streamline the broadcasting market. As a reminder, the Alexis Tsipras’ government is also planning the creation of a national advertising company.
(Sources : Le Monde, L’Expansion, Satellifax, Arrêt Sur Images, To Vima)