TV2 is the second most popular television broadcaster in Hungary, fighting with the privately owned RTL Klub for the leading position in the country’s television market. The channel started operations in 1997 with a generalist program. At the time, it was run by ProSiebenSat.1, a German owned broadcast group. In 2014, TV2 was sold to two investors before it changed hands again, a year later, when Andrew G. Vajna, a Hungarian filmmaker, acquired it. Vajna died in 2019, the company being then sold to József Vida.

Media assets

Television: TV2, LiChi TV, FEM3, Jocky TV, Moziverzum, Humor+, Izaura TV, KiWi TV, PRIME, Mozi+, Super TV2, Spiler1 TV, Spiler2 TV

State Media Matrix Typology: Captured Private (CaPr)

Ownership and governance

TV2 is not controlled directly by state structures. It is owned now by József Vida, a retired hammer thrower who in recent years has become one of the leading entrepreneurs of the Fidesz party. The chairman of TV2 is Miklós Vaszily, another oligarch with very close relations with the Prime Minister Orban. Vaszily in the past handled  several key deals that led to the takeover by the government of the main private media groups in Hungary.

Source of funding and budget

TV2 is a commercially run broadcaster that generates revenues from advertising. However, the outlet has also been one of the largest recipients of state advertising revenues in recent years, specifically after the purchase of the outlet by Vajna, a staunch supporter of the Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In 2018, for example, TV2 received 67% of the total revenues from state advertising spent in the television sector (which is more than half of the channel’s operational expenditure). The independent RTL Klub got only 1%.

According to information reported by the broadcaster, TV2 group had revenues of HUF 45.3bn (€124m) in 2020, including revenues pulled in by its television operations in neighboring Slovenia.

Editorial independence

There is ample evidence about the pro-government agenda of TV2. Since it was taken over by Vajna in 2015, it adopted a clearly pro-government editorial line. TV2 is known as a government communication channel, according to independent journalists. Independent media outlets refer to it as a “government-aligned” channel. Before the 2022 elections, several anchors at TV2 publicly encouraged people to vote for Fidesz, the party of the prime minister Viktor Orban whose acolytes own TV2.

There is no domestic statute and no mechanism of independent assessment or oversight that would validate the independence of TV2.

October 2023