Trio leads bidding for Slovak TV outlet

PRAGUE — The Slovak Council for Television Broadcasting heard presentations Monday and Tuesday from five companies bidding for Slovakia’s second state television channel.

STV2 is to begin broadcasting via satellite next year, opening the national terrestrial channel for private commercial broadcast.

The three principle bidders for the license are Pro TV, backed by Radio Koliba and Koliba Film Studio; Markiza TV, the Central European Media Enterprises-backed channel that in September became Slovakia’s first private terrestrial channel; and Charlie’s, producer Rudolf Biermann’s company, which is partnered with SBS (Scandinavian Broadcast System).

The council will make its recommendation June 3 to Parliament.

The competition has some intrigue. SBS once more pits itself against regional powerhouse CME in its efforts to get a hold on the budding central Europe market broadcast. A successful bid by Markiza would heighten CME’s monopoly in Slovakia, and increase its broadcast range to include the whole country.

In a parallel scenario, CME Czech channel Nova TV is thought to be behind a bid to buy a stake in the country’s only other private terrestrial broadcaster, Prima TV.

But the safe bet is that the Koliba-backed bid, with cozy ties to the ruling political party of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, will win. Remarks by the culture minister hint that it’s a done deal.

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