The lower house of the Czech parliament voted March 31 to reduce advertising on public network Czech Television, fuelling film industry fears that a major source of financing is drying up.
Czech Television spokesman Martin Krafl told ScreenDaily.com that if the upper house and president approve the measure, "We will lose in advertising approximately $7.4m (CZK 200m) per year."
Among the films Czech Television has helped finance in recent years are Oscar nominees Musime Si Pomahat (Divided We Fall, 2000) and Zelary (2003).
Although parliament approved a separate measure to increase the monthly fees Czech households pay to support public broadcasting, it is not enough to make up for the lost advertising revenue, Krafl said. "The fees have lagged behind inflation since 1997," he said. "It's not really more money for Czech TV."
The broadcaster still hopes to help filmmakers in other ways. "We have know-how, studios, Dolby sound studios," Krafl said. "We can offer them not only money, but also services."
Pavel Strnad, chairman of the Czech Audiovisual Producers' Association said filmmakers will turn to other sources for money. "There's not only Czech Television," he said. "There are commercial television stations." Strnad pointed to market leader Nova as potential source of financing. "Nova has not invested too much in films in the past, but that may change."