The over cost of public television

The over cost of public television

A too expensive television and probably, dispensable
9 April 2014

You turn on the TV and you can watch dozens of free channels. Of these stations, it can be distinguished the ones that self-finance, due to the income they obtain from advertising and other services, as a well-managed business works. Others, totally o partially subsidized by the tax payer through taxes (sometimes with procedures and figures a little bit opaque), even though you don’t make use of them

Fashion of creating regional television arose. If my neighbouring community has one, I also want mine. ¡Should we be less than them! To the eagerness of being more than the neighbour, it is added the low control and supervision of public entities, let’s say that only over communication media. But since the year 2010 we have experienced a clear reverse trend. The most recent case is the closing of canal 9 from Valencia, with 154 M€ of budget in 2012, a debt of 1.219 M€ and an audience lower than a 5%.

Due to the lower financing in all sectors, the communities have seen that they can not finance the same way a service of radio television that in all cases, can be dispensable. A diminishing in the budget that, for example, in TVE has gone from 1.200 M€ annually in 2010 to 293 in 2013, a reduction of a 76%. It is not needed to be asked if this reduction could have been possible before, saving to the public coffers several millions of euros, but of course, some people wouldn’t have enjoyed private trips with unlimited spending.

However, in some communities complaints arise where they relate the preservation of their “cultural identity”, referring to the co-oficial language of the region, to the maintaining of the subsidy to the communication media without making reference to its management. Nothing to do with, as the diminishing of the transfers of the state for this concept it no attack to the language, only a better management of the scarce resources available.

I am in favor of self-financing. Why financing in a common way a service that only some people use? Rarely do I watch television, and I consider that I shouldn’t be paying for a service that I do not use if it is not for a common wellness, as could be public transport. I think that all the controversy created by radio television is easier than what it seems, but demagogy and intentional lack of control of public spending do not allow it. The privatization of the channel, or the public management but financed by direct payment of the users would be the most viable option and would create a lesser controversy. Who wants, pays the channel, and who not, can still enjoy all the other channels that are well managed and are free for the user. But only if the indirect financing of television is eliminated. Like this the taxpayer would really know the cost of the service, and it should be a greater transparency. Maybe, keeping only one channel for the whole country could be another option, but not one for every community.

*Data obtained from autonomic budget

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