Black Sea Sat satellite company, which was launched a month ago, has become a topic of discussion a few times. Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV channels named Black Sea Sat the main reason for cutting ties with Global TV. Media. Ge spoke with Director General of the company Mamuka Tskitishvili:
There are various versions explaining the absence of Channel 9 in your package, the Director of that TV channel said you suggested you could turn off Channel 9 from the satellite if you wished so. What really happened in connection with Channel 9?
Channel 9 has a contract with TurkSat. I had no way of deciding whether they could or couldn’t stay on satellite. We were asking [Channel 9] to put Channel 9 on satellite just like Maestro, Kavkasia, Rustavi 2 and other channels. That way it could be broadcast from satellite without any interference. Even if I turned it off, it would still remain on TurkSat and continue to broadcast just like it does now. They don’t want to have contacts with us, but it’s up to them. Maestro TV channel wanted to cooperate and now they are in our package.
Black Sea Sat has been linked with the government from the day it was launched, what are your company’s interests?
We are not interested in politics at all. It is an ordinary business, we spent a lot and we want to have some profits. That’s our goal and plan. Nobody is forcing us to get involved in politics and all attempts to connect us with politics are artificial.
Vice Prime Minister Gia Baramidze attended the presentation of your company and made some statements, maybe this is one of the reasons why you are often linked to government?
All good projects are opened by President, Prime Minister etc. in Georgia and that stimulates business. Teleport was introduced in Georgia, which means quality of satellite broadcasting will be much better, because it will use a better - MPEG4 format, the signal will be more powerful.
Our partners from TurkSat arrived for presentation. Turkish Vice Prime Minister was visiting Georgia at the time, he wanted to attend the presentation, naturally Georgian Vice Prime Minister also attended the event in accordance with protocol.
Imedi and Rustavi 2 demanded that Global TV remove them from its package and named cooperation with you as reason for doing so. Was this the initiative of your company or did the TV channels decide to do it of their own accord?
It couldn’t be our requirement. It was their decision. They are private companies and I had no right to interfere with their activities.
You are going to build a digital radio relay network, what type of services are you going to offer the TV channels?
We have radio relay frequencies from Tbilisi to Batumi and vice versa. TV channels are interested in them, because they do live reports from streets etc. Doing it through a satellite is more expensive. Therefore if these relay lines cover a certain area they would prefer to use them rather than satellites.
Georgia will soon have to move to digital broadcasting. Do you have concrete plans in connection with digital broadcasting? There were reports that multiplex would be built by Black Sea Sat.
We have no connection with the project that the government has in connection with a move to digital broadcasting. I can tell you that a Black Sea Sat user can receive digital signals without any problem and they won’t have to change anything.
Parliament is going to adopt Must-Carry draft law in a few days. Will the obligatory transit of TV channels concern Black Sea Sat as well?
First of all, we don’t refuse anyone. We included in our package all the TV channels that were interested in it. Secondly, we’re a satellite company and as I know this draft concerns only cable providers.
How many TV channels does Black Sea Sat have and what kind of packages does it offer to its clients?
The first system is satellite broadcasting. That process is finished and we already provide our clients with 28 Georgian TV channels. Their list is on our website, including our own Black Sea Sat Info channel, where we will explain to our clients how they can receive channels and use our receivers. That package costs 10 GEL per month.
Another system is MVDS through which we broadcasting 72 foreign TV channels in Tbilisi and then it will spread to other major towns of Georgia. We will gradually increase that number up to 100 TV stations. MVDS is a non-satellite system. Signal is received through satellite dishes, but these dishes are non-satellite ones. This package will cost 25 GEL per month.
Where will these 28 Georgian TV channels be available in Georgia?
We cover the whole territory of Georgia through the satellite system; we also cover Europe and Central Asia. A person who has a satellite dish and watches 6 Georgian TV channels can become our client and watch 28 Georgian TV channels with the same dish and our receiver.