Russian TV viewers spent conspicuously more time watching in 2014 than in the previous five years. While daily TV reach among Russians living in big cities held steady at 72%, time spent viewing bumped up 2.5%, according to TNS Gallup. The increase, said the researchers, came from news.
The Sochi Winter Olympics certainly attracted the attention of Russian viewers but “since the spring of 2014 they were watching a TV series called the war for Ukraine,” explained TNS Gallup Russia director Ruslan Tagiev, quoted by vedomosti.ru (April 27). All age groups were spending more time watching, older viewers the most but younger people, too. And this year time spent watching is even higher though the “effect of cold streets and long new year holidays” always favor TV viewing. (See more on media in Russia here)
Russian viewers spending more time with TV did not, necessarily, benefit broadcaster’s revenues. Total TV ad revenues for 2014 were, reported by the Association of Communications Agencies, up 2% year on year but off 2% in the 4th quarter compared with the same period 2013. Broadcaster NTV reported 2014 ad revenues off 12.3% and First Channel reported a 3% increase.
A €150 million three-year project to assist a select group of European news publishers “increase revenue, traffic and audience engagement” is widely reported as an “olive branch” offered by Google to blunt on-going political and commercial threats. Those participating are, quite naturally, enthusiastic about learning all the digital secrets. Others, perhaps uninvited, just want money.
The Digital News Initiative will fund a variety of learning opportunities, said Google EMEA president for strategy Carlo D’Asaro Biondo at the FT Digital Media event in London. A committee has been set up to get it all organized. Google will establish centers in London, Paris and Hamburg. Participants include the Financial Times, the Guardian, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Zeit, NRC Group, El Pais, La Stampa and Les Echos plus the European Journalism Center. Other publishers and organizations will be invited, he said.
Google is not “trying to reinvent journalism,” said Mr. Bianco, quoted by journalism.co.uk (April 28), without mentioning how the company reinvented advertising and television. Google’s business model, strictly adhered, has no room for direct content creation, preferring others do the heavy lifting. With search engine traffic under some stress, the company has an overpowering need to encourage premium content. (See more about Google here)
Unimpressed were certain German publishers. “With the cooperation between Google and these publishers… it becomes clear that Google generally attaches value to editorial content and is willing to pay for journalism,” said VG Media managing director Maren Ruhfus, quoted by horizont.net (April 28). “We want 11% of all sales achieved with the operation of the Google search engine in Germany.” VG Media is a digital rights collecting society created by publishers Axel Springer, Burda and Funke that lobbied the European Commission on their behalf.
The selection process has begun in earnest for a new president and board of directors for Poland’s public TV broadcaster TVP. When the deadline passed (April 24) 37 applications had been received, including nine for president. Opening the envelopes revealed two fewer (35) but all generally well-known in the overlapping Polish media, culture and political circles.
Director-applicants are first screened by the supervisory board for statutory requirements. Then the current board of directors looks over professional qualifications. Candidates left standing will then be called for formal interviews. The final composition of the new three-person board will be submitted to media regulator KRRiT for its approval by the end of May and, if all goes well, announced by the end of June when the TVP General Assembly formally discharges the current board of directors. (See more about media in Poland here)
TVP president Julius Braun is seeking an additional four-year term. Others touted by local media watchers include Polish Film Institute chairperson Agnieszka Odorowicz, former TVP1 director Iwona Schymalla and actor Malgorzata Potocka. Mr. Braun’s relationship with TVP unions has not significantly improved since an out-sourcing plan was implemented shortly after his arrival in 2011.
From Last Weeks ftm Tickle File
Norwegians aren’t known for showy display or mincing words. The gush of international media attention following their Culture Ministry’s announcement last week about curtailing FM broadcasting in favor of the DAB digital radio platform brought a few snickers about errors and embellishments. For some DAB is just a joke and in Norway jokes aren’t necessarily a laughing matter.
Supporters of the DAB digital radio platform succeeded in getting the press release to all the right people through a slow-news weekend. Norwegian radio industry news portal radionytt.no (April 21) pointed out a few highlights from “first country to go fully digital” from the Guardian (UK), “the newspaper that generally is positive to the digitization of radio,” to the BBC reporting the global radio industry will be “nervous” about FM switch-off. Another BBC report said the transition to DAB in Norway will encourage other countries to take the same route without mentioning governments in Sweden and Denmark hesitating or, perhaps more significantly, the BBC’s financial involvement in DAB technology. But there they were, from CNN, Forbes, Time, Newsweek, Welt, La Figaro, El Mundo and every technology news portal with remarkably similar language; FM is so last century and digital radio is inevitable, except in the US. (See more about digital radio here)
In truth the Norwegian Parliament will have the last word on FM shut-down and the Culture Ministry’s proposal excludes the country’s 200 local FM stations outside the four biggest cities.
Not all the techie-tribe is enamored. “DAB is just as stupid as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) once was,” said Google Norway CEO Jan Grønbech, quoted bluntly by Kampanje (April 21). “I am most worried about the end user. If the FM networks are shut, I think they will get a nasty surprise. I fear a lot will not listen to the radio anymore.”
The Médiamétrie audience estimates for Il-de-France (IDF - Greater Paris) released this week could have only surprised those not paying attention. Events in France from early in January through the end of March, often in or near Paris, quite clearly affected listener behavior as the national survey released the week before showed. Audience share changes year on year were exceptional. (See more about recent French national radio audience here)
News and information channels markedly gained over the same period last year. RTL and France Inter, national channels and standard bearers for news coverage held the top two places in the IDF rankings; RTL to 13.2% audience share from 10.9% one year on and public radio France Inter to 12.0% from 10.8%. RMC moved into 3rd position with 8.1% audience share, up from 6.8%. Europe 1, more talk than news, fell to 7.5% audience share and 4th place from 9.3%. (See Greater Paris audience trend chart here) All-news France Info placed 6th and increased audience share to 4.9% from 4.2%. Paris regional public station FIP took 9th position; 2.6% audience share from 1.9%.
Both hit music channel NRJ and rap channel Skyrock lost audience share. NRJ held 5th position on 5.2% audience share, down from 6.1% year on year. Skyrock remained in 7th place while dropping to 3.6% audience share from 4.1%. On a different side of the musical spectrum Radio Classique dropped to 2.3% audience share and 10th spot from 3.7% and 8th place. Cherie FM slid to 2.0% audience share and out of the top ten from 3.2%.
Radio Latina remained the top rated local station, up slightly to 2.7% audience share and 8th position. In addition to FIP, local stations Radio FG, Voltage and Evasion saw audience share gains.
Overall, audience reach was significantly lower, 75.7% from 78.2% year on year. Aggregate audience share for private commercial national channels and local stations was down to 71.0% from 74.1%. Public broadcaster Radio France, perhaps affected by union industrial action in the final week of the survey period, posted aggregate audience share of 25.2%, up from 22.5%. The April-June period will include three weeks of public radio disruption.
Denmark’s public broadcaster DR added digital platform DAB to its distribution compliment for regional network P4 at the first of March. In audience estimates thereafter, DAB+ listening counted 2%, internet 7% and FM 91%. For all radio listening in Denmark, the digital share - DAB and online - is about 13%.
P4 is a network of 10 regional stations, pop music with national news and local cut-outs. On aggregate the P4 stations reach 55.4% of listeners in Denmark, according to TNS Gallup, and hasn’t changed much in years. DR was an early adopter of DAB distribution, all main channels available plus seven digital-only channels. The Danish government recently pushed-back plans to switch-off FM distribution. (See more about media in Denmark here)
“Usually DR’s DAB channels make up about 65% of all DAB listening, said DR research director Dennis Christensen, quoted by mediawatch.dk (April 21). Online listening to P4, he said, is “rare” but he expects the DAB share to grow “as much” when P4 listening “becomes more digital.”