The union of terrestrial broadcasters has recently sent a letter to the government requesting financial support. In the conditions of the coronavirus, the financial problems of the broadcasters have become more acute, and they are not able to repay the services of the TV tower (Armenian TV and Radio Broadcasting Network).
During his last press conference, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the government intends to help TV companies financially so that they can pay their debts to the TV tower.
“Today, TV stations broadcast social videos on the fight against coronavirus for free. I have said that this is not the right approach, as the government is the client of those videos, it has to pay, including the regional TV companies. Payments for broadcasting will be a form of support towards TV companies so that they may fulfill their debt obligations,” Pashinyan said.
He said that the payment mechanisms are not clear yet, a professional discussion is needed.
Davit Hakobyan, chairman of the Union of Terrestrial Broadcasters, says that in the letter they asked that help be provided not only to those who are in their union but also to help and subsidize all broadcasters so that they can pay state duties.
“During the state of emergency, the media outlets which broadcast on the State Multiplex were subjected to commandant instructions, and various videos aimed at preventing the epidemic were broadcast on the air. The idea of paying for their broadcast is very welcome. By receiving that money, our broadcasters will pay off our obligations to the tower,” said Hakobyan.
According to him, at the moment they have no information about the discussions in the government regarding the solution to the problem.
The issue of TV tower debts is not new, TV companies have accumulated debts over the past few years, but the reduction in advertising volume with Coronavirus is exacerbating the problem.
Despite the debts, the TV and radio network continues to provide services to broadcasters.
In particular, the station provides satellite communication services, builds, maintains and operates telecommunication networks, installs and maintains technical facilities for telecom operators, telecommunications operators, and performs construction and installation works.
It is a closed joint-stock company with central and regional offices and has many employees. It is under the Ministry of High Technology Industry.
We have not been able to get information about the debt of each of the TV companies, because the contractual relations are secret for third parties.
According to the Ministry of High Technological Industry, the total monthly contract amount for the provision of republican and regional broadcasting services via digital networks for all TV companies together is about 49 million AMD.
Although the Prime Minister himself has already spoken publicly about the debts of the TV companies, the Ministry responds to Media.am’s inquiry that the organizations mainly fulfill their obligations in terms of monthly payments.
And in case of non-fulfillment of obligations, according to the structure, the problem is settled within the framework of the debt repayment schedules between the parties.
According to the ministry, there are no discussions at the moment on the issue of assistance to broadcasters in terms of debts.