Two of the three franchise holders of Israel’s second channel have requested the government to enact legislation to enable them to jointly acquire programs abroad and to sell advertising time. The law which created Channel 2 forbids the three franchise owners from acting together in any capacity.

Because of the small size of the country, franchises were not allocated on a geographical basis but rather each franchisee was given the right to broadcast two days a week. As a result, the companies claim it is not economically viable to maintain separate staffs to purchase programs and sell advertising time. They also want to merge their production departments to meet the requirement that at least one-third of broadcasting hours be comprised of original Israeli-made programming.

“It is a complicated system to operate,” says Channel 2 Director General Nahman Shai. “It is unprecedentedly cumbersome.”

Eliahu Ben Amram, chairman of Keshet, one of the franchise owners, says that if the law isn’t changed in the near future, his franchise may return its license to the government.

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