War in Yugoslavia delays commercial TV in Bulgaria

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SOFIA--The long-awaited tender for the first national private Bulgarian TV frequency is on hold and results are not expected to be known until September. "The government apparently has more important things to do right now related to the war in Yugoslavia," says Carla Sabeva, the local media director of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Bulgaria does not yet have a national private broadcaster and last autumn the government banned prime time TV commercials on the country's two national state-owned stations. "We are all hoping for this tender to be completed soon. There's no competition. The state broadcaster has a monopoly; we can't broadcast commercials on prime-time television and media planning is very difficult," says Ms. Sabeva.

Although the bidders are not officially known, three consortia are thought to be in the running. Televisia Nova, a private Bulgarian broadcaster currently owned by Multimex I.D., is highly favored to win. The broadcaster currently serves the Sofia region. Other bidders include Scandinavian Broadcasting System, which is bidding with local partner Triada,and regional broadcaster Channel Three.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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