Kõlvart to shut down Tallinn TV

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center).
Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõkvart has made a proposal to the supervisory board of Tallinn Television (TTV) to shut down the channel. Air time for municipal news and programs will in the future be procured from other networks.

"Maintaining a TV channel is expensive and not very effective as people's media consumption habits have changed. We will continue to inform the citizens of Tallinn through various channels, including television, taking into account that people spend more time online and on social media and less time sitting in front of television screens," Kõlvart said.

Kõlvart's proposal would see TTV retained as a trademark and the foundation tasked with producing city news and programs. Air time for the latter would be procured from other networks in the future. The mayor said that reorganization is aimed at reaching more people with a smaller budget. The plan would cut TTV's budget by 50 percent.

"We will use the money for education and social services," Mihhail Kõlvart said.

Should the supervisory board support the mayor's proposal, half of Tallinn TV's staff would be let go. Tallinn TV currently employs 30 people.

Speculation surrounding the future of Tallinn Television began when Taavi Aas became minister of economic affairs and communications, leaving the seat of mayor to Mihhail Kõlvart. The new mayor did not like Tallinn TV closing 2018 with a major loss, which is why the channel was put on a diet in June and the start of its fall season postponed. Eight employees were let go in June.

In addition to shutting down its TV channel, the city is in the middle of a broader media revision. Tallinn's new PR chief since August 22, Kirsti Ruul, has said that the city should first and foremost communicate municipal information instead of concentrating on general interest topics.

Tallinn TV started broadcasting regular programming on January 3, 2011. Its programs have been free to air since June 10, 2011.

Tallinn Television had a daily share of 1.3 percent on the Estonian television market in August. The figure was 12.9 percent for ETV, 8 percent for Kanal 2, 7.5 percent for TV3, 5 percent for PBK and 2 percent for ETV2.

A press conference on the future of Tallinn Television, featuring Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, chairman of the supervisory board of TTV Aivar Riisalu and management board member Taavi Pukk, is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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