Portugal to reduce net’s debt

Privatization will be part of process

LISBON — The new Portuguese government has announced a set of measures that will significantly reduce the operating costs and production output of debt-ridden pubcaster RTP.

The tax authorities have acquired RTP’s archive for $216 million as part of a $326 million restructuring package of RTP’s $1.2 billion debt.

The archive provides repeat programming for the pubcaster’s flagship channels, RTP1 and RTP2, plus its cable channel, RTP Memoria.

Private-sector competitors will have easier access to the archive — one of their long-standing demands. Commercial broadcasters will also now provide programming for a revamped RTP Intl.

Flagship channel RTP1 will be privatized next year, and RTP’s output will be cut from 14 to four hours per day on regional channels RTP Madeira and RTP Azores.

The government has also announced that RTP will renegotiate its $2.9 million annual programming deal with Euronews.

A new model for public service TV will be unveiled in October.

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