End of TV license fees

After changes in Polish Television, Polish Radio and regional radio stations, public media are experiencing increasing financial problems. President Andrzej Duda vetoed the budget bill, so they can't count on compensation at the moment. Getting money from radio and TV license fees can also be complicated. The National Radio and Television Council, which does not recognize the new authorities, wants the money transferred to a deposit with the court. This means a complex procedure. TVP alone received more than PLN 2 billion in license fees and compensation in previous years. PLN 800 million from advertising alone will not be enough. Experts expect public media to take out loans or sell bonds. These are just “payday loans.” Stable financing of TVP or Polish Radio can only be guaranteed through legal reform.

Two options

The head of the Parliamentary Culture and Information Committee, Bogdan Zdrojewski, confirms that work on comprehensive reform is continuing. The alternative, i.e. two methods of financing the media, is constantly analyzed and calculated. It is a financing mechanism from the state budget, and not an annual subsidy like many European countries. This is the minimum GDP ratio. So that public media has certain funds guaranteed, not annually, but over the long term. This would be a legal proposal – inform Zdrojewski Wirtualnemedia.pl.

We wrote about the second option at the beginning of December. – The second method is audio-visual graphics. It is calculated at approximately PLN 9 per month from PIT and CIT in the form of a specific device. Under this concept, all existing exemptions would apply, i.e. to persons with disabilities, the blind, veterans, etc. There is also a proposal to expand this to include children and young people up to the age of 26. Fees will be based on the taxpayer's home address and family members. Not from a specific smartphone or device. Audio-visual fees also apply in other European countries. It is understood in such a way that if the BBC, for example, produces content and makes it available, you pay for the possibility of using it, regardless of whether it is a classic TV, radio receiver, car receiver or smartphone – explains Zdrojewski .

According to the assumptions of the project authors, there will be a procedure allowing exemption from optical fees. – The project assumes that there may be a person who does not use any content uploaded through various channels on music or photo transmission devices. Such a person will be able to submit a declaration, but this means that he will immediately be subject to possible inspection. Under current civilizational conditions, it is difficult to imagine people not using it at all, but this cannot be ruled out 100 percent. The important point is to ensure compliance with the constitution and other laws, explains the representative of the Civic Coalition.

If President Andrzej Duda does not veto the bill, the new regulations could come into force on January 1. – The law on new methods of financing media should be ready by the end of September at the latest. The point is that if we opt out and limit ads – because those elements are included in both options – we want to start 2025 from January 1 with new legal solutions. – The parliamentarian confirms.

TVP is among the world's leaders in terms of the number of channels

Telewizja Polska offers 21 channels: TVP1, TVP2, TVP3, TVP ABC, TVP Kultura, TVP Historia, TVP Sport, TVP Info, TVP Woman, TVP Polonia, TVP Rozrywka, TVP Document, TVP Seriale, TVP HD, TVP Wilno, Alfa TVP Belsat, TVP ABC 2, TVP Kultura 2, TVP Historia 2 and TVP Nauka (not counting the additional 16 versions of TVP3 and TVP Parliament). Soon, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the twenty-second channel, TVP World, will return. As we reported in 2022, few public broadcasters in the world can boast such a rich portfolio. Chinese CCTV is definitely among them.

Zdrojewski emphasizes that after the reform, TVP will have to reduce these expenses, among others. The former head of Telewizja Polska has a similar opinion.

These sprawling dozens of TV channels are not necessary at all. Question about the role of TVP branches and regional radio stations. People have become accustomed to them, and they are expensive commodities in the public media, which has no way to support itself with advertising, because these regional markets are simply shallow. There must be sufficient channels to accomplish the mission of a public broadcaster. I understand that it should be a channel of information, culture and education for children. I would not encourage any extension of this to documentaries or sports. Majors are the most marketable. I have no doubt that if someone wants to watch the Champions League, like me, or world tennis, there will always be a commercial broadcast network that will offer that. I think TVP Sport is not needed. I'm not even referring to TVP ABC 2 or TVP Kultura 2 or TVP Historia 2. This is style over substance. Television has rich archives, but we have the Internet. Wouldn't it be better to create one cultural and historical channel and make the rest of the content available on TVP VOD? – Robert Kwiatkowski, member of the National Media Council, asks rhetorically in an interview with Wirtualnemedia.pl.

Janusz Dasszyński, a member of the TVP Program Council, and before Jacek Korski, also its president, speaks about the merger of thematic channels. – I compare today's public media with the transatlantic media, because in recent years they have grown to horrific proportions according to the slogan “Who will stop the rich?” Many thematic channels of Polish Television and, to some extent, Polish Radio were created without guarantee of content and financing, often relying on random people, which resulted in it being a heterogeneous and disorganized structure both in terms of programming and organisation. To my knowledge, there was no coherent strategy for thematic channels on the Internet. Polish television, so far, should be created – in my opinion – on the basis of content (culture, history, science), and not on form (documentary, journalistic), because the viewer is looking for specific content, and the form only serves to convey it. This approach to thematic channels will allow rationalization of the operating costs of the channels, for example by merging several of themproducing content that fulfills the mission of the public broadcaster, and complements TVP's programming resources in this regard – says Daszczyński in an interview with Wirtualnemedia.pl.

Although each province currently has “its own” TVP3 branch, there is no shortage of votes to limit its number. – The number of TVP channels should be radically reduced. TVP1, TVP2, Kultura, TVP Info and TVP Polonia as well as the regional centers are certain to remain. Although the number of the latter can also be reduced – suggests Jan Ordynski of the Journalists' Association. It also presents another idea for financing TVP and Polish Radio. – If the state decides to own public media, it must ensure complete financial stability for them. The financing source could be a fixed monthly fee paid by each family. It can be collected, for example, with electricity fees. This will not require activating a special device to collect these fees. This will be similar to the method of downloading the so-called Belka tax – says Ordynsky.

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