Israel's cable operators have caved in to government pressure and agreed to share programming with start-up digital satellite franchise holder Yes.
Yes previously told Israel's ministry of communications that it would return its franchise unless the country's cable operators were forced to share their programming with the new outfit. The cable operators have bowed to pressure and agreed to give Yes access to their programming in exchange for the right to continue operating their joint acquisition company ICP.
The Controlling Board of Cable Broadcasts has given its blessing to this arrangement and also granted Yes a nine-month exclusive period to market the cable operators' channels in separate packages, from July 2000. The cable operators have also agreed to invest at least $25m a year in domestic production. Yes is expected to channel at least $7.5m into production in its first year of operating, and $10m per annum in the following years.
Yes has borrowed $100m to build the infrastructure necessary for digital broadcasts which were scheduled to start at the end of 1999. The company claims to have provided about 100,000 homes with dishes and to have completed installation of a broadcasting centre in Tel Aviv.