Hot Topic - Media in Russia
The meteoric rise of media executives always attracts considerable attention, adding to the enduring narrative of success in this highly visible arena. Big ideas, working hard or having the right connections most often illustrates the careers of these winners. That light is also visible, however briefly, when media stars fall back to earth.
Pressure on media executives is often insurmountable. Even those with impeccable records of service are called to painful duty. Rising to that call can be hugely rewarding. Failing, quite often, is the road to perdition.
Language holds people together and tears them apart. In this post-modern media environment language crosses boundaries easily, conveying aspiration, nostalgia and every image in between. People are drawn to television, radio, newspapers and websites in the languages with which they feel most comfortable. This pluralism is widely admired, a freedom to sustain. Diversity, linguistic and cultural, can also be exploited.
Russian media is, if anything, full of intrigue. From Western eyes, itís also full of controversy. This certainly extends to the rather vibrant new media scene. Color it complicated.
Broadcasters can fall foul of regulators, even public opinion, for touching sensitive subjects. There can be fines and worse. Where broadcasting is under one thumb or another viewers search high and low for anything interesting, maybe controversial, sometimes annoying. But bland TV is never threatening.
Opportunity and cash are charting the ebb and flow of recent media transactions. With most developed markets, strategic investors are buyers and financial investors are sellers as valuations continue to rise. In developing markets, media asset values have plummeted to historic low levels, changing the equation. Speculators are having a field day.
Consolidation is a matter of course. In market economies, tough times force companies to expand cash-flow by acquisition. Better times encourage new entrants and new ideas. But where the media sector is viewed through a different prism consolidation is simply a matter of control.
See also in ftm Knowledge
Media in Russia
Media in Russia is big business and big politics. Media companies are consolidating as they move into new media and new territories. At the same time independence is still questioned. It's all changing. ftm looks at media in Russia and its neighbors, 125 pages. PDF file (January 2012)
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