Channel 10 decides to relocate news operation to capital

Company's CEO expresses concern that move will be financial drain; employees to be given discount on apartments; studios to get 90% tax break.

Channel 10 press conference 311 (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Channel 10 press conference 311
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Channel 10 will move its news department to Jerusalem in the beginning of 2012, the owners of Channel 10 announced on Sunday at a press conference with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
The channel, which is currently based in Givatayim, will move 500 of its employees to the JCS Studios on Jaffa Road near the entrance of the city, in a move that could cost around NIS 40 million, according to Globes.
Ron Lauder, an American businessman who is part owner of Channel 10, also owns the Jerusalem Capital Studios. “This is a very strong statement, that Jerusalem is a place to do business and a place to live, many people are only thinking about Tel Aviv for opening businesses,” Lauder told The Jerusalem Post after the press conference.
The move has prompted some dissension within Channel 10. “We found better economic options in other places but the owners decided to come here, and so that’s where we’re going to be,” said Channel 10 CEO Yossi Varshavsky.
Channel 10 was also considering studios in Malha, Abu Ghosh and Neveh Ilan, where Channel 2 is located.
“[In Jerusalem], we’re paying a much higher rent,” said Varshavsky.
“Even with all the things Barkat pointed out, it’s still much more expensive, and at the end of the day we’re still an economic company trying to make money.”
“We wouldn’t move if we thought we’d lose money,” Lauder said after the announcement. “We’re not in the business to lose money, we’re in the business to make money.”
Channel 10 has been struggling financially since it went on air on January 28, 2002. The station must have a news department in the capital because all commercial news stations must have representation in Jerusalem, according to the “Channel 2 Law.”
Channel 2, Israel’s first commercial television station which broke the monopoly of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, is located in Neveh Ilan, a suburb of Jerusalem still included in the 02 area code.
“Today’s decision broadcasts an important message in terms of strengthening the city and also gives hope to the many young Jerusalem residents that love the city and want to live here but cannot because of an absence of jobs in their fields,” said City Councilor Merav Cohen. Her party, Jerusalem Awakening, has been active in the fight to get Channel 10 to move to Jerusalem.
Channel 10 will receive a 90 percent discount on property tax in JCS for the first three years, and employees who relocate to Jerusalem will get a discount of up to NIS 30,000 per year on apartment rentals.
“Channel 10’s move to Jerusalem is not just for compliance with the law, Jerusalem knows that today to be attractive to companies and to communication businesses that generate income, they must offer them and their workers unprecedented incentives,” said Barkat.
Channel 10 is expected to need about 1,600 square meters of office space in the building. JCS still needs to undergo extensive renovations before Channel 10 can move in, though Varshavsky said it could happen as early as the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012.