Regulators Reject US Media Group’s Takeover of Croatia’s Most Popular TV Channel

Total Croatia News

US investors want to take over Nova TV, Croatia’s most popular TV station.

The Electronic Media Council rejected a proposal by United Group, owned by a US fund KKR, for a takeover of Nova TV, the TV channel with highest ratings in Croatia, reports Jutarnji List on November 18, 2017.

KKR, through its telecommunications and media group United Group, intends to adapt markets in Croatia and Slovenia to the digital revolution and relocate content and users from traditional TV channels to new platforms, said its representative Ludo Brammens after the decision was announced. “We have already invested 230 million kunas for the takeover of Slovenian Pro Plus and Croatian Nova TV, and we will invest additional funds,” he said in a conversation for the Slovenian daily newspaper Delo on Friday. He added that as investors they had similar projects with about fifty companies in Europe, and they expect they will achieve similar success in smaller markets such as Slovenia and Croatia as well. “We would enable access to the global network of our media professionals. We can also offer resources, funds and a great network of people,” Brammens said.

The Slovenian production house Pro Plus owns popular TV channel A-Kanal and POP-TV, and in Slovenia, KKR is already the owner of Telemach cable operator.

However, according to the Croatia’s Law on Electronic Media, an operator carrying out the activities of transmission and broadcasting audiovisual and radio programmes on various platforms cannot at the same time own individual TV and radio stations, at least according to the Electronic Media Council’s opinion. As explained in the decision, the problem is the fact that the applicant also controls company Totalna Televizija, which is an operator of a TV platform.

According to United Group, in all other EU member states, joint ownership of TV channels and operators is permitted, under special conditions if necessary. “The basic principle of proportionality in the EU envisages the application of the least harmful restrictions on competition and the free establishment of services, where alternative solutions are available and are appropriate and sufficient to achieve a legitimate aim,” said the company.

“If local TV channels want to compete with new platforms and content offered by Netflix, Amazon TV or Facebook, they will need a powerful partner who has the resources and the support to help them adapt to the digital world. Those who stay with the current TV principles will be in a very unfavourable position in five years,” Brammens said.

United Group has expressed interest in taking over Nova TV in Croatia and announced that it would study the decision of the Electronic Media Council which rejected its application. They pointed out they would assess whether the decision was in accordance with the European principle of the rule of law and whether the local law was applied in a non-discriminatory manner.


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