Slovak TV space is created by Radio and Televison Slovakia (RTVS) – an organisational component of Slovak Television and commercial multiregional, regional and local TV stations.
With the adoption of the Act No. 532/2010 Coll., on Radio and Television Slovakia and on the transformation and amending of some acts, a statutory national independent information cultural and educational institution Radio and Television Slovakia – RTVS was established which offers public service in the area of radio and television broadcasting. RTVS arose as a result of the merger of Slovak Radio and Slovak Television and it started broadcasting on 1 January 2011. RTVS provides television broadcasting through its organisational component Slovak Television (Slovenská Televízia). Slovak Television started broadcasting on 3 November 1956 from the Bratislava studio. It provided daily programming from January 1959. Czechoslovak Television, which incorporated Slovak Television as well, was discontinued on 31 December 1992 and from that time a dual system of television broadcasting took shape in Slovakia. From January 1993 Slovak Television operated two channels; nowadays RTVS operates two channels – Jednotka (‘One (STV)’) and Dvojka (‘Two (STV)’).
Jednotka (‘One’) is a full-format and family-type television. It broadcasts the main daily news programme plus brief timely news bulletins throughout the day. Films, foreign TV movies and music and entertainment programmes are at the heart of STV1’s programming, while documentaries and political/current affairs programmes are also featured.
The dominant features of programming on the second channel, Dvojka (‘Two’), include an early evening broadcasting bloc, which is on weekdays aimed at regional broadcasting and regional communal current affairs content, and a later evening broadcasting bloc, which in prime time gives space to current affairs journalism and documentary productions. STV2 also gives coverage to the presentation of the life and culture of national minorities and ethnic groups living in the Slovak Republic, the churches, and special interest and socio-professional groups, as well as to analysis of specific problems of groups and individuals. For a number of years, STV2 has also continued to screen reruns of original and foreign drama and film productions.
In accordance with the law, Slovak Television broadcasts programmes in the languages of national minorities and ethnic groups living in the territory of the Slovak Republic. Broadcasting in Hungarian has the greatest share in the national minority broadcasting which is a reflection of the size of this minority in relation to the state-forming population. Broadcasting in the Romany, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Czech, German, Polish, Hebrew and Bulgarian languages takes a smaller share.
The dual system of television broadcasting in Slovakia comprises of Slovak Television and 133 television stations operated by television broadcasting licence holders. From the point of view of their territorial signal coverage, these television stations may be defined as multi-regional, regional and local television stations. In a nationally-mixed territory a total of 13 television stations broadcast in Hungarian as well as Slovak. Compared to the previous years, there are 135 television stations operating in Slovakia in 2015 but there are also still more and more television broadcasting licence holders that have not started the broadcasting yet (in 2014 it was 25 of them). In the case of four televisions stations the programming has been interrupted for a long time. Thirty-one stations have ceased broadcasting and 16 television broadcasting licences have expired or have been withdrawn (as they had not started broadcasting) since 2006.
Within the meaning of the law, multi-regional broadcasting is defined as broadcasting which covers several regions and is available for reception by more than 30 per cent but less than 80 per cent of the population of the Slovak Republic. The broadcasting of multi-regional televisions is either full format or monothematic in terms of their programming structure.
TA3 is the first television news channel in Slovakia. It started broadcasting in 2000, giving daily coverage to news from Slovakia and abroad, responding to events happening in society at large and those of world significance. The programming structure is made up of half-hour blocks of domestic and foreign information, focusing on areas such as the economy, finance and sports. The programme is supplemented by talk shows on topical subjects, phone-ins, live inputs, interviews and viewers´ reactions.
LUX offers an alternative to a commercial broadcasting. It is aimed at religious life and spiritual or important human values. Its goal is to spread happiness and hope among people.
The broadcasting of two Slovak music televisions has come to an end.
The satellite station Duck TV is targeted at child viewers aged from six to 36 months and is defined as children’s educational and entertainment television. It includes animated pictures tailored to the age of the target group, tinged with music and sounds intrinsic to particular images. The programming of the monothematic television station RING TV consists of interactive games for adults supplemented by the television game Magic Oracle.
Amongst the multi-regional full-format television stations, TV Markiza, which commenced its broadcasting in August 1996, has for several years been the number one television channel in the market. Shortly after its appearance it became the channel with the highest viewing ratings and it has maintained this position to date, despite changes in the competitive environment. It currently broadcasts 24 hours a day and its signal is available to 86 per cent of the Slovakia’s population. TV Markiza’s family-type programming addresses the broadest viewer target groups. Its news, current affairs and entertainment formats currently attract the largest audience. Dramatic productions, original comedy serials and world-tested music and dance entertainment programmes are also popular with the viewers. Markíza has been involved in several domestic and international co-production projects. From 2004-2006, in co-operation with the international company Bavaria Media and the European televisions ORF, Pro 7 and Sat 1, it contributed to the production of the films Tunel (Tunnel) and Pirátovo srdce (The Pirate’s Heart) and co-produced the film Je treba zabít Sekala (Sekal Has to Die) as well as several Slovak film projects. In the context of original television production, TV Markíza was the only Slovak television station nominated for the best television programmes (in the category of Reality Show its programme VILOmeniny) at the international Rose d´Or Festival 2005, held in Lucerna. Journalists of Markíza’s News Department have won a number of domestic journalistic prizes and high international awards. The most prestigious is the nomination among four best news reports worldwide in the category of Special News at the 26th Emmy Awards of 2005. Of no lesser importance are the nominations for the Golden Drum festival in 2005, and for Promax BDA in 2006. The television broadcasting licence holder runs apart from TV Markiza 2 further televisions, DOMA and Dajto.
TV JOJ is another full-format, multi-regional television station which focuses its programming on entertainment projects, original and foreign serials and specific news and current affairs reporting and has emerged as number two in the Slovak television marketplace. In the autumn of 2008 JOJ Plus started its programming that offers television viewers film series and current affairs. It is transmitted mainly via cable distribution systems. The television broadcasting licence holder runs apart from JOJ and JOJ plus 4 further televisions, WAU, Senzi, RIK, Cinema and Ťuki.
Regional broadcasting is defined as programming which covers an area larger than the cadastral territory of a municipality and is available for reception by less than 30 per cent of the population.
Local broadcasting is defined as broadcasting whose reception, as a rule, is geographically restricted to an area restricted to a municipality, i.e. it does not exceed 100,000 population in the case of a village, or 200,000 in the case of a town. There are currently more than 100 regional and local television stations in Slovakia. The programming offered by these regional and local television stations is closest to the viewers and is created and tailored to match their interests. The programming structure of regional and local television stations consists of mostly daily broadcasting blocs of news and current affairs programmes, the hottest news from the city or community, interviews, and reports from different neighbourhoods. Local television stations also offer live or recorded transmissions from meetings of city or community self-government councils. To a large extent local television stations supplement their broadcasts during the day with videotext information.
Of the regional and local television stations broadcasting in the nationally-mixed territory, 13 broadcast in the language of the national minority as well as in Slovak. Currently the Hungarian language is the only national minority language covered.
In 2012 the television system in Slovakia transited from analogue to digital television broadcasting. Along with the transition to a dual system of television broadcasting, digital broadcasting is the biggest change in the field of television broadcasting in Slovakia since 1989.
In 1997 television broadcasters founded the LOToS – Slovak Association of Local Television Stations, which currently unites 49 local television stations. LOTOS advocates independent dissemination of information and the development of the dual system of television broadcasting, representing its membership in dealings with estate bodies, self-governments and organisations operating in the protection of copyright as well as with other entities operating in the media sphere in the Slovak Republic and abroad. It provides its members with methodological and professional assistance, co-ordinates co-operation in the production, distribution and broadcasting of joint programmes and contributes to increasing the quality of broadcasting. Through promoting local television stations on a national and international scale, it helps to raise funds as efficiently as possible which are necessary for the independent activity of local televisions in particular regions of Slovakia. In addition, it holds an annual national festival of television production by local TV stations in Martin, which in 2008 celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Another event of significance for local television broadcasting is the International Festival of Local Television, held annually in Košice, the first festival of its kind in Central Europe which in 2008 celebrated its 14th year. From its inception it has been organised by the City TV Foundation and TV NAŠA of Košice.
The festival is a competitive presentation of programmes of local televisions and independent production companies. Panel discussions on the hottest issues of local television stations and media accompany the festival. Each year between 60 and 70 films are selected for the festival’s final round. For example in June 2008 138 representatives of 24 countries, including the USA and Australia, attended the festival. A local television production from Australia made its premiere appearance at the festival. The festival jury included Ed Baumeister, an American journalist living in France, Marcel Dekanovský, Igor Aleksic, Robert A Hooper, Violeta Gorgos and Dragana Banjac. Over the 14 years of the festival’s existence the quality of competing entries has been steadily increasing. The Zlatý žobrák (Golden Beggar) Grand Prix of 2008 went to the portrayal of the 94 year-old Mária, entitled Humoreska (Humoresque), produced by TV Etalon Rumania. The Zlatý žobrák award for best production company was won by a documentary by the company ASKA Slovensko, capturing the hope of a blind sibling couple František and Martina. The Golden Beggar (Zlatý žobrák) award for a young author went to the documentary Moja teta Timrava (My Auntie Timrava) by BONE Productions (Slovakia), authored by Katarína Kocálková. The film tells the story of the Slovak writer through the eyes of her 93 year-old niece. It is a frank account of the writer, her work and life. Annually the festival brings the most recent productions of local television companies, plus discussions on local television and its problems.
Televisions in Slovakia – the public-law Slovak Television and all commercial televisions and their viewers – are united annually in the viewers’ survey Osobnost televíznej obrazovky (Television Screen Personality, OTO) in which viewers vote once a year for their favourite television figures and programmes. Viewers can vote through survey slips published in print media and through SMS or the Internet, selecting their favourite personality from television news, sports, politics, public affairs and entertainment programmes, and by casting their vote they determine the year’s programme. An Absolute OTO goes to the personality who obtained highest number of votes from the viewers. Each year too, a personality is selected for induction into the OTO Hall of Fame, a category of honour decided not by television viewers but by the Slovak Film and Television Academy.