After some turmoil last year regarding the granting of television channel licenses (which resulted in the repeal of nine of them by a decision of the Spanish Supreme Court), the Spanish Government recently issued a new call for tender for six of these licenses. Three of the television channel licenses are for high definition digital television channels, whilst the other three are for standard definition digital television channels. Each applicant is allowed to opt for a maximum of two licenses, one of each type (high and standard definition).
In order to obtain a license, applicants need to have had a turnover of more than €2.5 million for the last three years and to provide a warranty of €6 million for each requested license. Aside from these requirements, the Government is taking into consideration aspects such as the quality of the audiovisual content to be broadcasted. The economic requirements have been considered excessive by some potential applicants, which have filed an administrative claim requesting a modification of the terms of the call for tender.
On Thursday 17 June 2015, it was unveiled which applicants may be granted one of the TV licenses. Among them there are major media groups (Atresmedia, PRISA, Mediaset), a sports team (Real Madrid TV) and also the biggest chain of department stores in Spain (El Corte Inglés).
Licenses are expected to be granted on October for a period of 15 years. Once an applicant is granted a license, it just start broadcasting content in the following six months.
This call for tender seeks to compensate in some manner the aforementioned repeal of licenses. That and the very recent extrajudicial agreement that media groups have reached to avoid the repeal of eight additional licenses may help to stabilize the Spanish media landscape, although further calls for tender might take place. This would present an opportunity for operators interested in expanding their operations or entering the Spanish market. The latter must bear in mind that the Spanish General Audiovisual Communications Act sets forth some restrictions for companies which are not based in a country within the European Economic Area.