Estonian state TV begins commercial broadcasts

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TALLINN/ESTONIA--Estonian state-owned TV networkETV has been reincorporated as an ad-financed channel.The network began broadcasting with commercials May 5.

"We had little option but to change direction in termsof financing," says Toomas Lepp, ETV's CEO. "The stateis unable to fund growth, and advertising is the bestand most available option."

ETV's decision follows protracted and contentious talkswith Estonia's three private TV networks: TV1, TV3 andKanal 2. ETV had agreed not to air commercials in returnfor an annual fee from the networks. However, all threeeither delayed or suspended payments to the state channel.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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