Pubcaster’s long and winding road

A timeline of RTVE's history

1956
Oct. 28. Government minister Gabriel Arias Salgado inaugurates TVE. Initial three-hour broadcasts include docs and reporting provided by Madrid’s U.S. Embassy.

1960
Dec. 15. First international transmission: European Cup soccer from Glasgow featuring Real Madrid and Eintracht Francfort.

1966
* Nov. 15. Culture channel TVE-2 launches. Its docu series “Conozca Vd. Espana,” “Fiesta,” “La vispera de nuestro tiempo” and TV playhouse, led by “Hora 11,” mark a TV golden age in Spain.
1968
* April 6. Singing “La, la, la” (sic), Massiel wins the Eurovision Song Contest for Spain.
* May 28. TVE airs pioneering pop-arty “Ultimo grito,” helmed by Ivan Zulueta.

1972
* Launch of Narcis Ibanez Serrador’s legendary gameshow “Un, dos, tres .” It runs decades, snagging export sales.
* First color transmissions

1973
* Radiotelevision Espanola (RTVE) created.
* Antonio Mercero’s TVE-produced “La cabina” wins Intl. Emmy.

1976
* Bow of iconic shows: Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente’s docu series “El hombre y la tierra,” current affairs “Informe semanal” and movie debate program “La Clave.”

1977
* June 15. Spain’s first modern elections, celebrated by TVE’s “Esta noche fiesta,” with Julio Iglesias.

1982
* Dec. 31. Basque regional pubcaster ETB launches, ending RTVE’s TV monopoly.

1986
* Jan. 13. TVE initiates morning transmissions.
* Oct. 17. Film director Pilar Miro appointed RTVE director general, who plows into series with Latin American entities. Spanish film pre-buys reach $200,000, becoming, with state subsidies, key for Spanish film financing.

1988
* RTVE begins satellite transmissions for Europe and America, launching TVE Internacional in 1989.

1990
* RTVE’s ad receipts and market share — 87.6% TVE-1/La2 in 1989 — slashed by new private webs Antena 3, Telecinco and Canal Plus.

1994
* TVE-1/La2 share reaches 37.4%. TVE-1 broadcasts more mainstream programming to contain $1.7 billion deficit.
* Feb. 14. Sat feeds Teledeporte, Canal Clasico and Hispavision launch.

1996
* May 10. Financial consultant Monica Ridruejo becomes RTVE director general after Popular Party election victory.

1997
* Sept. 15. Satcaster Via Digital, 25% owned by RTVE, launches, carrying TVE niche channels such as Canal 24 Horas.

1998
* Nov. 13. Vet TV exec Pio Cabanillas becomes RTVE director general.
* Dec. 16. RTVE exits Via Digital.

1999
* April 28. RTVE announces $60 million outlay over three years for Spanish films.

2001
* Jan. 1. RTVE placed under state turnaround entity SEPI.

2004
* April 14. Spain’s new socialist government taps university professor Carmen Caffarel as RTVE general director.

2005
* Nov. 30. RTVE launches five DTT channels.
* TVE-1 2005 share: 19.6%.

2006
* Feb. 27. RTVE and SEPI presents plans to rationalize RTVE, slashing jobs to curb deficit.
* Feb-March. TVE-1 dancing contest “Mira quien baila” becomes Spain’s primetime revelation.

Sources: Academia de las Ciencias y las Artes de Television (Bulletin), Historia de la TV en Espana (Manuel Palacio), El Anuario de la TV (GECA), Variety.

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