A few years ago, state public television shut down advertising. TVE eliminated advertising: the last advertisement of 2009 was also the last advertisement in the history of TVE. The withdrawal of advertisements then raised the general consumption of television and was based on the idea that public television was, precisely, a public service. Although it may seem that public television has not had ads for a long time, the truth is that things are relatively recent in time. Of course, in those ten scarce years a lot has changed in the television market. Spanish Television audiences have plummeted, despite not having advertisements, but the truth is that general television audiences have done so as well. More and more people are watching content on demand and on online services, leaving linear television in a crisis situation.
But, in addition, since public television turned off the ads, the debate on financing the service has never stopped. If the ads don’t inject capital, someone has to.
Like other public services, public television is in charge of the General State Budgets, although in recent years television managers have been pointing out that the amount of money they receive – which has finally grown this last year – is not enough to give the service they should give.
Telecommunications operators were taxed at a rate of 0.9% that served to finance RTVE, although the next Audiovisual Law could eliminate it and migrate that tax pressure to streaming services. Public television also receives a canon from private televisions.
Importing the French model?
This change in the situation has led to talk of advertising again and new voices demanding the return of advertisements to public television. The proposal that UGT has made regarding RTVE’s new strategic plan implies just that: the union has asked for advertising to return, albeit in a limited way, following the French model of public television.
“The French model, which inspired the current Financing Law, has four financing channels for public television: royalty per television, 0.9% on the income to telecos, 3% on the advertising income of private televisions and a presence advertising display only 25% “said union, as collected CincoDías .
It would not, therefore, be an absolute return of the ads, but a very limited advertising load. The UGT also points out that, if the ads return to TVE, the canon for private TV would disappear.
The union is not the first to speak of a return of advertising to TVE. The Association of Communication Users also requested it in 2013 and 2015 . In their case, they believed that it was the only way for television to be sustainable.
Will the announcements return to RTVE? It remains to be seen. Of course, if TVE recovers the advertisements in that hypothetical future, it will do so in one of the most complicated moments for advertising on traditional television.