Exec gives up on digital

PRAGUE — In a quick change driven by the Czech digital TV license mess, Petr Chajda, chief exec at TV Barrandov, has announced he will leave the post to take over the Czech Republic’s No. 2 terrestrial web Prima TV.

Chajda, who assumes the post April 1, had been awaiting state approval to start operations at Barrandov film studios’ broadcast division, an ambition shared with five other indie digital license holders since last year. But TV Nova appealed the license grant-ing process in October, calling it biased, and a court has barred all the recipients from going on air.

The licensing body, the Czech Broadcast Council, says it is awaiting passage of a digital broadcast law in parliament before it approves broadcasting.

Only pubcaster Czech TV is currently broadcasting digitally. Several small holders of frozen licenses appear to have given up hope and are now providing programs to Nova and Prima, which have been all but promised they will get theirs in time for the analog switch off planned for 2010.

Chajda, who said he sees “no light at the end of the tunnel,” has opted to work in analog for now with Prima rather than sit idle at TV Barrandov. In his new capacity, Chajda will work to revitalize the flagging station, following the ouster of Prima’s Martin Dvorak, to give Nova tougher competition.

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