Athens, March 31, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Employees of Mega channel are in turmoil after the information from the management of the channel that the payment of March will be paid in installments, that is, they will receive half rather than the whole salary at the end of March. From the channel they assure the employees that the rest of their salaries will be paied on April 11, but the fact has created an upheaval as it adds to the uncertainty about the future of Mega Channel that has been going on for months.
The news comes as a result of suspended state of the television network, which has not found a way to achieve with the necessary increase of the share capital. According to information, there must be an attempt to try and find a solution between the channel and the banks for the workers to get their half.
Meanwhile, the president of 24MEDIA, Dimitris Maris, announced at noon Wednesday his intention to participate under certain conditions in the reconstruction effort of Teletypos SA
The “Teletypos”, established on April 27, 1989 for the purpose of “production and marketing of television programs and broadcasts, installation, operation and exploitation of television stations throughout Greece, when permitted and with the conditions that will be permitted” had initially a share of 5 mln drs.
In Mega participated at the time, with equal shares of 20%, the five publishers of the newspapers “To Vima” and “Ta Nea” (Chr. Lambrakis), “Ethnos” (G. Bobolas), “Eleftherotypia” (Christos Tegopoulos), “Kathimerini” (Ar. Alafouzos) and “Mesimvrini” (Vardinogiannis family). The first departure came from the part of Alafouzos in the early 90’s, due to the disagreements with other shareholders regarding the policy followed by the Channel’s news and created SKAI. Later Tegopoulos also departed by selling his stake.
Mega was introduced in the Stock Exchange in 1994 and managed to raise more funds. However, the economic crisis that erupted in 2009 in the country did not leave Mega unscathed this time. As the channel with the largest pie in the advertising market, it witnessed the lack of liquidity “born” and taking gigantic proportions within months, while the memorandum period of the country brought changes in the Channel’s journalists regarding the “political support line” of the publishers.
Mega traditionally supported the governments of PASOK and did not oppose the governments of New Democracy as much as others. The problem arose, as its shareholders were expecting, in January 2015 when SYRIZA came to power and among the few election promises it kept was that the bill of television licenses, but also for the Channel owners to pay their debts to the State.
The first year that the channel recorded losses in the balance sheet was in 2008: just 600,000 euros, insignificant. However since then, every year, the… hole in the finances took gigantic proportions. Plus the advertising market took a dive due to the crisis and the movement “I do not pay” found application to the shareholders of Mega. The channel adopted such a hostile position against SYRIZA that the party forbid its representatives to appear in the Channel’s political show “Overturn” of Yannis Pretenteris, but also in the Channel’s news in the presence of Pretenderis. The reason was his articles in the newspaper “Ta Nea” in which he spoke against the Left, which was considered casus belli.
The loans that are not serviced and are estimated at EUR116 mil, forced the lending banks to seek capital increase by EUR 15 mil, to be extended its operations until 2021, but this was not possible. The share of Mega withdrew from the negotiation of the Stock Exchange and the future of about 400 workers is hanging by a thread.