Sport channel needs millions to survive

  • 2009-03-25
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - Toomas Lepp, who recently bought a sport channel from the ailing Kalev media company, has said that he will need between 1.5 and 2 million euros to keep the station alive.
Lepp bought the station from Kalev, which has since been renamed Luterma, earlier this year amid widespread company restructuring. The station, formerly known as Kalev Sport, has been renamed TV4.
The TV producer said that the size of the investment would depend on what kind of program he would make 's one that covered a substantial amount of news or just a sports program without any news.
Lepp said he does not want to make public his potential investors, but said that there were two of them. One of them knows the Estonian market well, and the other does not.

"Most of the investors regard the risks in the Baltic countries to be too high. Some have bluntly said that the kroon would have to be devalued and have promised to invest then," Lepp told the Baltic News Service.
Financing of the television channel and its future should be clear by the end of March, Lepp said.
On Feb. 18, Kalev Meedia sold 100 percent of its shares to Videomeedia Pluss OU, a company run by former Kalev Sport television channel chief Producer Toomas Lepp.

Lepp previously said program planning will be altered with the aim of turning Kalev Sport into a commercial channel governed by market principles.
Employees of the channel will stay on, Lepp said.
"We'll examine where costs can be saved and how the program composition can be made more attractive to advertisers and more palatable to viewers," he said.

According to the sales contract, Kalev Meedia has the right to repurchase Eesti Spordikanal within one year.


Lepps' announcement came alongside news that Via Concept 's the company formerly known as Kalev Meedia that had previously owned the sport channel 's had filed for bankruptcy.
The company filed for bankruptcy with the Harju County Court on March 24.

The main causes of insolvency, according to the Via Concept management, are the general economic downturn of the advertising market in 2008 and the impossibility of obtaining additional finances from credit institutions.
The court will make a decision on launching bankruptcy proceedings within 10 days of receiving the petition.
Via Concept has to date not paid employees salaries for February and other remuneration due them.
The company published several magazines and operated two television channels, a news portal and a radio station. All of the magazines have now been shut down and the TV channel Kalev Sport has been sold to Lepp. Only the news portal will stay in business.