Spain has most affordable public broadcasting in Europe

Tuesday 31 January 2017

RTVE headquarters in Barcelona. Image: Almusaiti/Creative Commons

A new study published in collaboration with FORTA and Spanish universities, confirmed that the state’s public television service is the cheapest in Europe.

The financing of Spain’s public broadcaster Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española (RTVE) is the cheapest in Europe, according to a study  published by The Federation of Autonomous Radio and Television Organizations (FORTA).

The study “Current situation and trends in public radio broadcasting in Europe” was carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Barcelona, ​​Navarra, Castilla-La Mancha (Cuenca), Baleares, Andalusia (Malaga), Basque Country, Vigo and La Coruña, for FORTA with the objective of analysing the impact of public services in an international context, considering social and economic factors.

The research shows that public broadcasting in Spain has a yearly cost of €38.9, almost half of the European Union average (€66.9).  The difference is even more striking when compared to Denmark, that registers €164.1 per capita annually.

But this cheapness also has a price. Public television in Spain has indeed been subject to the largest european budget reduction in the last five years (-35.2%), followed by Cyprus (-32.7%) , Portugal (-29.9%), Poland (-17.4%),  Ireland (-11.5%) and Italy (-10.04%). The budget has increased in countries such as Hungary (65.7%), Lithuania (37%) and Denmark (12.6%).

However, this has not affected its audience share. Data shows that the broadcaster’s news bulletin at noon, for example, is an important source of information for citizens with an average of 15.4% of the audience share. This is comparatively more than the share experienced by any other broadcasters with noon reports. A similar trend also resonates in Germany where 60% of adults rely on public TV as their primary source of political news, according to a recent survey.

“With that small amount we are managing to maintain quality,”  said the director of Castilla-La Mancha TV. “It is a kind of information very close to the audience. We get where the generalist channels cannot logically arrive, and it is clear that the audience appreciate it, because it is a service that cannot be given by anyone else.”