Slovakia and the Czech Republic are neighbors. Languages are similar. They were, indeed, the same country until 1993, peacefully dissolved. Both members of the European Union.
TV land in the two countries is also shared. Czech channels appear on Slovak cable and satellite services and vice versa. A Czech court decision earlier this month signaled, somewhat, a separation.
Czech cable operators may no longer distribute Slovak channel TV Markiza, announced the TV Nova press release (June 16). TV Markiza and Czech company TV Nova are owned by Central European Media Enterprises (CME). Czech cable operators were unaware of the court decision by early this week, reported Czech media portal radiotv.cz (June 21). And, too, the court decision applied only to distribution of TV Markiza within the Czech Republic. (See more about media in the Czech Republic here)
Several months ago CME launched Markiza International, intended to replace TV Markiza and sister channels in the Czech Republic, and Nova International to replace TV Nova and sister channels in Slovakia. That move was, quite simply, about distribution rights as well as holding onto the established brand names. (See more about media in Slovakia here)
Meanwhile, pay-TV operator UPC announced it is adding three channels in the JOJ family to its premium basic package and the Horizon Go mobile platform in Slovakia. UPC, owned by Liberty Global, is the biggest cable TV operator in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. TV JOJ was established in 2002 to compete with CME’s dominant reach in Slovakia.
Professional awards are incredibly important for those who toil in and out of studios near and far. The annual New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards never fails to single out the very best in radio magic. There are, naturally, many categories but storytelling is the thread running through them all. See the complete list here at New York Festivals.
The four Grand Awards were bestowed on Anglosphere producers. Independent Irish producer Athena Media was honored for the historical documentary The Kinder Letters broadcast on Newstalk 106-108. BBC Radio 4 received two Grand Awards for episodes of the documentary series A New Life In Europe. TBI Media and BBC Radio 2 took a Grand Award for the live entertainment program The Battle of Britain at 75. The BBC was named Broadcaster of the Year and TBI Media production company of the year.
Not a few of the programs selected for honor related stories of recent migrants to Europe. The special United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) gold award was presented to Austrian public broadcaster for Für ein Stück Glück (Train of Hope). The series, broadcast on ORF Radio 1, followed volunteers who assisted migrants arriving at the Vienna main train station last autumn. BBC Radio 4’s A New Life In Europe series about Syrian arrivals received the UNDPI bronze award.
Critical news media continues to vex authoritarian regimes. Jailing reporters and shuttering news outlets has become commonplace where “illiberal” leaders take threats, real and imagined, seriously. Sides have formed with news outlets in the middle.
Turkish authorities took into custody Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) representative Erol Onderoglu and two colleagues this week. They were charged with supplying “terrorist propaganda.” They had guest-edited recent editions of Kurdish magazine Ozgür Gündem. Forty of the magazine’s contributors “are under investigation,” said its attorney.
“Erol Onderoglu has fought tirelessly to defend persecuted journalists for the past 20 years,” said RSF Eastern Europe/Central Asia director Johann Bihr in a statement (June 20). “He is a leader in this field because of his honesty and integrity, which are recognized the world over. It says a lot about the decline in media freedom in Turkey that he is now also being targeted.” (See more about press/media freedom here)
This latest episode of contempt for alternate opinion “goes against Turkey’s commitment to respect fundamental rights, including freedom of media,” offered European Union (EU) foreign policy Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn in a statement. “The EU has repeatedly stressed that Turkey, as a candidate country, must aspire to the highest possible democratic standards and practices.” (See more about media in Turkey here)
None of this affects Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his followers, increasingly blunt with reporters shining an inconvenient light. Pro-government news outlets, notably newspapers Vatan and Milliyet, ignored this latest episode. Opposition news outlets, led by daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, expressed outrage… again.
Lawmakers in Ukraine last week enshrined music and language quotas for radio broadcasters. From October one-quarter of all music on radio stations will be in the Ukrainian language. After two years the percentage rises to 35%. In addition, 50% of all music output must be produced in Ukraine, reported media news portal Telekritika (June 16). For some reason, television stations were not included.
There will be a language quota, generally, affecting banter between tunes, ads, news and talk-shows. In the first year half the spoken language on radio stations will be Ukrainian then 60% after the second year. There’s an exception for stations that predominantly broadcast in a European Union language; 25% speech in Ukrainian. (See more about media in Ukraine here)
“It's hard to find a sufficient number of Ukrainian songs,” said Ukrainian Media Holding (UMH) general director Elena Malysheva, the criticism everywhere of radio quotas, except from local music producers. UMH operates several national and local radio outlets, including Retro FM and Lounge FM. Eastern Ukraine is predominantly Russian-speaking and the controlling separatist groups have imported Russian-produced radio channels. Broadcasters are also required, under recent law, to play the Ukrainian national anthem twice per day.
French cultural laws were the first to enshrine quotas for music on radio channels. The object, so far, has not been to affect Russian-language tunes but, as always, the “Anglo-Saxons.” French private radio broadcasters had hoped for a bit of relief through the new Law on Creative Freedom.
Alas, the French Parliament passed an amendment last week supported by the music industry and opposed by broadcasters that effectively forces broadcasters to add French-produced, French-language tunes to playlists. No longer will broadcasters be allowed to simply use a few French-language hits, repeating often, to meet quota requirements. Specifically painful for broadcasters, if half the French-language music broadcast consists of ten or fewer titles, those tunes will not be counted as fulfilling the quota. (See more about media in France here)
“Enough is enough,” said independent radio association Les Indies chairman Jean-Eric Vall, quoted by Le Monde (June 18). "For the uninitiated, this solution appears conciliatory, but in reality, they put on such conditions that it will prove impossible for many radio broadcasters."
Reality TV shows based on foreign-originated formats will be strictly limited in China. Some television channels, said the directive quoted by South China Morning Post (June 20), are “too dependent on broadcasting foreign-inspired programs.” The limit on “foreign-inspired” shows, effective July 1st, will be two per year in evening prime-time. Only one new reality TV show will be allowed each year and banned from prime-time in the first year. A broadcaster showing one of these programs without approval can be banned from offering any “foreign-inspired” show for a year.
Coinciding with the directive, State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television – essentially the media regulator – deputy director Tian Jin instructed all media workers to toe the Communist Party line and watch their step with social media. “Programs that are hyping trending social hot topics, ridiculing state policies, disseminating wrongful views, advocating extreme views, and sparking conflicts will be severely punished,” he wrote in the very official People’s Daily. Media workers “should not provide any ways for promoting wrongful ideas and voices.” (See more about media in China here)
Last week Jiangsu TV and Twitter announced cooperation “to engage with an overseas Chinese audience” for reality game show Who’s Still Standing. “Audiences want to know more about overseas education, and after watching this show they'll discover just how many brilliant overseas Chinese students there are globally,” said Chinese host Li Hao in a press statement (June 16). Who’s Still Standing has been offered in China by Jiangsu TV since 2012, the format acquired from NBC Universal.
From Last Weeks ftm Tickle File
Big French broadcasters threw a major hissy-fit this week about the Médiamétrie audience estimates. NRJ Group, NextRadioTV, Skyrock, Lagardére Active and the independent radio association accused RTL Group, owner of Fun Radio, of “unfair and deceptive practices.” Followers of French national radio audience trends have noted recently rather robust reach and share increases for Fun Radio. (See French national radio audience share trend chart here)
It seems “on at least four occasions,” reported Le Monde (June 16), between last November and this January the Fun Radio morning show host Bruno Guillon and/or other members of the show team “encouraged” listeners to participate in the Médiamétrie surveys. The complaint was submitted to the ratings audit bureau CESP. RTL Group countered with threats of a libel lawsuit. Business news portal Les Echos (June 16) is calling it “Fungate.”
The Médiamétrie radio audience surveys are telephone surveys, fixed and mobile, subject to all the quite obvious statistical variations, weighting applied to demographics and geography. Médiamétrie is owned by the major radio and TV broadcasters and ad agencies. Apparently, Médiamétrie does not have explicit rules about broadcasters mentioning the surveys. (See more about audience measurement here)
Everybody does it, was the initial response from Fun Radio director Tristan Jurgensen. In a general sense all radio programming and promotion is designed to affect audience surveys. Years ago and far away, US radio measurement provider Arbitron, now part of Nielsen, came up against something very similar. A certain broadcasting company, also long gone, instructed DJs to tell listeners to “write it down,” an oblique reference to the survey diaries. Offending stations were “de-listed,” removed from published survey results.
That particular practice stopped. Arbitron saw this as an opportunity to completely change radio audience measurement, dropping the diary in favor of electronic measurement. Radio broadcasting became far less “fun.”
Two things were clear after the release last week (June 8) of the German ma IP Audio streaming audience estimates. First, big regional radio channels targeting (more or less) young people are the most streamed. At the top of the list is 1Live, WDR’s pop music channel targeting 14 to 39 year olds, with 8.6 million “sessions” per average month. Second is SWR3, also a similarly targeted public radio channel, with 6.9 million average monthly “sessions.” Young people are, obviously, streaming.
Second and clearly bigger is the rise of Spotify in Germany. According to the ma IP Audio estimates the ubiquitous streaming service attracts 103 million average monthly sessions, up 4% on the previous quarter. The total of average monthly “sessions” for the 149 radio channels surveyed is 93 million. Young people have, arguably, jumped the platform. (See more about streaming audio here)
The advertising people hear this. Millennial-anything, digital-anything is their ultimate desire. Turkish Airlines has a major marketing campaign coinciding with the UEFA Euro 2016 football championships. Turkish Airlines is the Official Airline Sponsor. They have an A330-300 decorated for the event.
Taking the David Guetta Euro 2016 anthem “This One’s For You” as a starter, Turkish Airlines is sponsoring a “Europe’s Best” playlist on Spotify for each of the 24 competing countries. “Music has always been a big part of football,” said chief marketing officer Ahmet Olmustur in a press release. The London office of Crispin Porter & Bogusky is Turkish Airways ad agency. Last year their video ad for Turkish Airlines won the Webby/You Tube award for ad of the decade.
Living, breathing and spending people, we understand, are the bread and butter of advertising supported commercial media. Folks with the greatest discretionary spending power have long been targets of marketing opportunity. Like gravity, the physics is impossible to defy.
Market researcher Ipsos annually produces a set of surveys on affluent consumers. The Affluent Europe Survey was released last week detailing the habits of earners in the top 13% bracket across 21 countries, representing roughly 50 million people. Most of the detail is behind the paywall, so to speak.
There is a media section. Affluent Europeans consume media. On the news side, that means English-language TV and digital sources. CNN tops the list of affluent-favored news media, reaching 35% of them monthly. Sky News is second (29%) followed by the BBC (27%), euronews (23%) and Bloomberg (15%). Sorted for business and financial news across platforms CNBC tops, then Bloomberg, Time, Financial Times and the Economist. Among the really rich – investment portfolios exceeding €3 million – Bloomberg tops. On digital platforms the BBC takes the lead. (See more about TV news here and online news here)
Chronology, according the the Ipsos survey, matters. Affluent Millennials (18 to 35 years) consume all media more than affluent Baby Boomers (50 to 72 years), a delight to the advertising people. As a very rich banker once said: “I pay people to watch TV.”