Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Fiji Television forced to sell its stake in PNG's EMTV

SUVA (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation / Pacific Media Watch / The Fiji Times): Fiji Television is selling off its Papua New Guinean television station, EMTV, because of a new law which says all media organisations must be majority owned by PNG nationals.
The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and The Fiji Times newspaper reported that Fiji TV had signed an agreement with Telikom PNG to evaluate the station and put in an offer to buy it.
Fijian Holdings Limited chief executive Nouzab Fareed told the FBC that until now EMTV had been a "cash cow" for Fiji TV but that its market value had been slowly declining, partly because the new law has led to new local TV stations starting up:
"We have signed an exclusive agreement, a memorandum of undertaking with Telikom PNG, which is a government owned authority, to look at a complete due diligence, through which the Telikom PNG will make an offer, for our entire shareholding in Media New Guinea Limited, I agree Media New Guinea Limited is a cash cow for Fiji Television Limited, but cash cows aren't cash cows every day, unless you protect your subsidiary, and if you feel comfortable and I think I don't see much value in that otherwise.
We are happy right now, but it doesn't mean, when the competition comes into the market from November and December, in PNG, the value of our company will be the same, we see the market share has been slowly going down, the advertisers in PNG is reducing their length of their contracts, so we see that competition is coming up, click tv PNG is starting next week, we are aware that DigiTv is coming up, but at the same time, we are fully aware, the legal frame work in PNG."
EMTV was previously owned by Australia's Channel Nine, before being sold to Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL).
Meanwhile, The Fiji Times newspaper reports that Fiji TV is hoping that its licence to broadcast will be renewed when it expires next month.
The TV station is owned by Fijian Holdings Limited which has invested $25 million in Fiji TV.
Fareed said that having to apply for a licence renewal every six months might "create an issue in the long-term planning."
However, he was sure that the government would renew Fiji TV's licence, as the station was operating within the confines of the media decree which was imposed by the previous military regime, and which remains in force.
"From the operations point of view, I'm OK with this. I'm doing my best and doing everything within the Media Decree. We are trying to satisfy the government and we are hopeful that in December they will give us a licence," Fareed told The Fiji Times.

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