One of the biggest-ever shakeups of Israeli television is underway as rival companies Keshet and Reshet began operating separate 24/7 channels Wednesday, a move that will task both TV powerhouses with producing more original content.
Up till now, concessionaires Reshet and Keshet have shared airtime on Israel’s Channel 2. But Keshet will now be responsible for Channel 12 and Reshet for Channel 11, both of which have round-the-clock programming.
The shift to full-time broadcasting for Keshet and Reshet is part of a broad slate of television reforms in Israel. “The move will increase competition in commercial television broadcasting and increase the amount of content on the air,’ Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said when the reform legislation was first pushed through in 2014.
Both Keshet and Reshet have blockbuster reality and game shows. Keshet broadcasts the Israeli version of “Master Chef,” as well as “Bake Off Israel” and popular satirical program “Eretz Nehederet.” Reshet is home to big-budget local versions of “Big Brother,” “The Voice” and “The X Factor.”
While both companies will use reruns to fill out their 24-hour programming, they’re expected to come up with new content to build their schedules. Keshet Media Group, the local arm of global production and distribution powerhouse Keshet International, already has a slew of fresh programs in the works. The company, which is behind hit spy thriller “False Flag” (pictured), says that Israeli audiences can expect six new dramas in the near future, more current affairs and late-night programming, and a new reality show featuring Israeli superstar singers Eyal Golan and Aviv Gefen.
“Keshet’s move to seven-day broadcasting opens an important new chapter in both the journey of our company, as we double our output of scripted and non-scripted programming, as well as the country’s history of commercial television,” Keshet Media Group CEO Avi Nir told Variety.
Keshet, which boasts a thriving digital arm, Mako, has enjoyed steady ratings growth among local audiences, with a 5% uptick in viewership over the first three quarters of 2017, in contrast to dips for both Reshet and Channel 10.
The shakeup of the industry also calls for Channel 10, which is partly owned by Arnon Milchan, to scoot over to Channel 14 and rechristen itself as “Eser” (Hebrew for the number 10). Public broadcaster “Kan,” which replaced the now-defunct Channel 1 in May and has been impressing local audiences with its slick catalogue of programming, will stay put on Channel 11.