weCAN Digest July 2019

Media monitoring of the latest news about the media and advertising markets of Central and Eastern Europe


Bulgaria’s Billboard sells majority stake in Motion Arts
Bulgarian printing and advertising company Billboard [BUL:5BP] said on Monday that it has sold a 51% stake in Motion Arts for 157,000 levs ($91,000/80,000 euro). Billboard sold three separate minority packages, of 26%, 15% and 10%, the company said in a bourse filing.
Jul 1

UK pledges 9 million pounds for independent media in Ukraine
The U.K. Foreign Office, or FCO, announced on July 2 that Britain would move to further support independent media in Ukraine with a fund of nine million pounds, or about $11 million, that would be allocated as part of a new three-year project.
Jul 2

Number of Slovak pensioners on social media doubled in four years
Social media platforms have already become part of Slovaks’ daily life. While half of them were social media users in 2014, 60 percent were active on social media four years later, the EU’s statistical office (Eurostat) reported.
Jul 3

Reporters Without Borders express concern about Estonia’s largest daily, Postimees
Reporters Without Borders, an international organisation that conducts political advocacy on issues relating to freedom of information and freedom of the press, has expressed concern about the largest newspaper in Estonia, Postimees, and calls the newspaper’s owner to respect the editorial independence of the daily.
Jul 4

EU court backs Lithuania in TV hate speech case
The EU’s top court sided with the Lithuanian authorities in a case dating back to 2016, when the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) took action against the TV channel NTV Mir Lithuania, owned by British company Baltic Media Alliance, which mostly broadcasts programs in Russian.
Jul 4

116 violations of press freedom recorded in Ukraine for the last six months – IMI survey
In the past six months of 2019, IMI experts have recorded 116 cases of violations of press freedom in Ukraine. The overwhelming majority of these violations (88) were the incidents involving physical aggression. For comparison: over the same period in 2018, there were a few more violations of press freedom (126, of which 92 cases related to physical aggression).
Jul 4

Investigating the unintended effects of television advertising among children in former-Soviet Bulgaria
Extensive research has been carried out to examine the unintended effects of television advertising on children in Western Europe. Little, however, is known about effects in Eastern European settings. Eastern European countries were part of the former USSR and its Soviet regime, meaning that all forms of commercial advertising were prohibited.
Jul 6

Latvia fires next salvo in Baltic booze battle
Latvia’s parliament approved a plan on Monday to cut the tax on strong alcoholic drinks by 15%, the latest move in a battle for “booze tourists” from Finland and Estonia, a week after its Baltic neighbor Estonia slashed its own liquor tax by 25%.
Jul 8

New report: Poland’s public media serve as propaganda tool
A recent report by Poland’s Society of Journalists and the Batory Foundation finds that public media in Poland do not fulfil their role as a source of independent and balanced news, but rather function as a propaganda tool for the government.
Jul 8

New report reveals Hungary’s creeping influence on Transylvania media market
The Hungarian government has quietly become one of the biggest players on the Transylvanian media market, buying up a significant number of local media outlets via an NGO linked to Fidesz, Hungary’s ruling party.
Jul 8

Hungary most social media savvy country in Central and Eastern Europe
According to Eurostat, around 65% of Hungarians (aged 16 to 74) participated in social media networks in 2018, a much higher level than the EU average and its regional neighbours – thus confirming previous estimates that positioned Hungary as one of the most media-savvy nations in Europe.
Jul 9

Russia’s RT and Sputnik barred from UK conference on media freedom
The Foreign Office has banned Russia’s RT and Sputnik news organisations from attending a global conference on media freedom in London because of their “active role in spreading disinformation”.
Jul 9

Scandalous teleconference with Russian TV canceled, but gaps in Ukraine’s media regulation remain
At first, the Russian propagandistic state-owned TV channel Rossiya-1 announced a teleconference between the people of Ukraine and Russia. The show called “We Need to Talk” was to be aired jointly with the Ukrainian TV channel NewsOne.
Jul 10

HRW warns Russia press freedom deteriorating after arrests
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned of deteriorating media freedom in Russia. The group says arresting journalists on fabricated charges has become a common strategy to silence its critics.
Jul 11

Ukrainian Soldier Given 24 Years For Role In Deadly Shelling Of Journalists In Donbas
An Italian court has sentenced Ukrainian National Guardsman Vitaliy Markiv to 24 years in prison for his role in the deaths of an Italian photojournalist and his translator during fighting near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk in 2014.
Jul 12

Polsat completes takeover of Eleven Sports’ Polish operatio
Polsat, which is owned by Warsaw-based broadcaster Cyfrowy Polsat, has increased its share in the Polish-registered network from 50 per cent to 99.9 per cent, according shareholder data on the National Court Register (KRS).
Jul 12

Ukraine investigates grenade attack on Kiev TV station
Ukrainian authorities said on Saturday they were investigating an attack on a Kiev television station owned by an opposition election candidate, which caused damage but injured no one.
Jul 13

Mattoni’s highway eagles have become roadside art to skirt Czech anti-advertising laws
Roadside advertisements have become illegal across the Czech Republic, but artistic installation are not specifically banned. Rather than take their distinctive eagle-shaped signs down, Karlovarské minerální vody (KMV), the maker of Mattoni bottled water, has been covering them over with concept art.
Jul 15

IPTV, broadband grow in Slovenia
IPTV accounted for 54.7% of pay-TV homes in Slovenia in the first quarter, according to the latest figures published by the regulator AKOS. Cable, whose take-up fell, claimed 38.8%, with satellite (5.3%) and MMDS (1.2%) the remainder.
Jul 15

Euronews and HD-WIN announce launch of Euronews Serbia
Euronews has signed a deal with Serbian media group HD-WIN to launch Euronews Serbia, a news channel and digital platform aimed at a Serbian-speaking audience. The move is part of Euronews’ strategic ambition to become the world’s first “glocal” media organisation offering content adapted for local audiences, and follows the launch of Euronews Albania last November.
Jul 15

The Aftermath Of EP Elections In Social Media
This spring all eyes were on the European Union, thanks to the EP elections. There is always a big media buzz about the campaigns and the debates prior to the voting. But what did internet user think about the results and how they reacted to it? Text and media analysis company Neticle knows the answers and will present it now.
Jul 15

Zenith: Romanian advertising market is slowing down
The advertising market in Romania is starting to slow down, after two years of accelerated growth, according to a study by media agency Zenith Romania. In 2019, Zenith estimates the value of the local advertising market at EUR 493 million, up 7% compared to 2018. The growth rate will slow down to 3% in 2020, when Zenith’s projections indicate a market value of EUR 508 million, and stagnate in 2021.
Jul 17

Lithuania to block Russia’s Sputnik News over copyright issues
A court in Vilnius has ruled that the Lithuanian website of Russian state-run news portal Sputnik News should be banned after it repeatedly published the contents of Lithuania’s public media without their approval.
Jul 17

Estonia: State seeking to abolish strict ad restrictions on consumer credit providers
The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is seeking to abolish strict advertising restrictions on providers of express loans, which were imposed only three years ago when the state decided to harshly organize the express loan market, the daily Postimees writes.
Jul 17

Meet the Elves, Lithuania’s digital citizen army confronting Russian trolls
When the dark acts of the trolls became particularly harmful, the Elves felt they had no choice but to get together and fight back, and the fierce battle which then began has since been waged with no sign of ending.
Jul 17

IAB study: Romanian online advertising on the rise again: 22 % in 2018 versus 2017
2018 was one of the best years for the online advertising in Romania, which posted a growth of 22% compared to the previous year, to RON 271,8 million, a first when it came of surpassing the EUR 50M (close to EUR 57M) mark.
Jul 17

The Czech Republic is fastest-growing ecommerce market in Europe
Most growth of a European country’s ecommerce market can be expected in the Czech Republic, where it’s predicted the online retail industry will grow 16 percent between now and 2021. That’s more than in other European markets.
Jul 18

Poland, Lithuania probe Russian-made app behind viral old age selfies
Poland and Lithuania said Thursday they were looking into the potential security risks of using a Russian-made face-editing app that has triggered a viral social media trend where users post “aged” selfies.
Jul 18

Dubrovnik the darling of the social media scene in Croatia
Dubrovnik is the absolute king of social media in Croatia. By far the most traffic and interest of any Croatian destination on the web and social media is drummed up by Dubrovnik with nearly twice as much interest as the second Croatian city.
Jul 18

Journalists Association Appalled by Croatian President’s Instruction
The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) said on Thursday it was appalled by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s “scandalous statements … unworthy of the office she holds, in which she shamefully instructs journalists how to do their job.”
Jul 18

Polish newspaper criticised over plans to print ‘LGBT free zone’ stickers
A newspaper in Poland has ignited a debate after announcing a plan to print “LGBT free-zone” stickers with its next issue. They will feature a rainbow flag — a common symbol of gay pride — with a black cross superimposed over the top.
Jul 19

Serbia’s PM to N1: Media Strategy draft sent to Brussels by mistake
Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Friday that the Media Strategy draft, with changes that media and journalists’ organisations described as unacceptable and not agreed upon, had been sent to Brussels by mistake.
Jul 19

Poland, Lithuania probe Russian-made app behind viral old age selfies
Poland and Lithuania said Thursday they were looking into the potential security risks of using a Russian-made face-editing app that has triggered a viral social media trend where users post “aged” selfies.
Jul 19

Russia’s Secret Intelligence Agency Hacked: ‘Largest Data Breach In Its History’
The hackers managed to steal 7.5 terabytes of data from a major contractor, exposing secret FSB projects to de-anonymize Tor browsing, scrape social media, and help the state split its internet off from the rest of the world. The data was passed to mainstream media outlets for publishing.
Jul 20

Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister expects 50% increase in budget for advertising
Bulgaria’s Ministry of Tourism will seek an increase of at least 50 per cent in the budget for advertising for 2020, minister Nikolina Angelkova said on July 22 after attending a National Tourism Board meeting.
Jul 22

‘We are watching you’: the 500-day protest against corruption in Romania
Every day when the Lutheran church bell strikes noon, people fall silent in a leafy street in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu. For more than 500 days, in snow, drizzle and scorching sun, a group of residents has staged a silent protest in the centre of the picturesque city.
Jul 23

GEMO report 2019-2023 : Media and entertainment industry in Romania, to reach 3bln US dollar threshold in 2019
The media and entertainment industry in Romania will reach in 2019 the 3 billion US dollar threshold, up 7.1pct compared to 2018, but remains the smallest market in Central and Eastern Europe (ECE), according to the PwC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook report 2019-2023 (GEMO).
Jul 23

Latvia urged to address public broadcaster’s problems
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a swift solution to the disturbing problems and internal conflicts at Latvia’s public radio service, which its journalists blamed on inadequate funding and their mistrust of the board of governors in a letter published on 10 July.
Jul 25

Latvia blocks Baltnews portal, citing EU sanctions against Russia
The Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Latvia, which pursuant to Latvian law manages the top level domain .lv, has blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv. The decision to block the portal was made based on a memo from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which referred to EU sanctions.
Jul 25

Ukraine’s politicians are eager to win hearts and minds online
Politics has always been on top agenda in the Ukrainian social media: the 2014 Euromaidan protests were famously sparked by a single Facebook post. This year, which also saw a presidential election in March, was no exception.
Jul 25

Russia warns UK media of consequences after London fines one of its TV channels
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday warned British media operating in Russia that they should be ready to face the consequences after a British regulator fined Russia’s RT state-financed TV channel.
Jul 26

Two charged with terrorism over Bulgaria’s biggest data breach – lawyer
Bulgarian prosecutors have indicted two men on terrorism-related charges following an enormous data breach earlier this month that compromised the financial records of almost every adult in the country.
Jul 26

Russia May Limit Foreign Ownership Of Top Internet Companies To 20 Percent
Russia may limit foreign ownership in its most important Internet companies to 20 percent in the latest in a series of steps by the government to tighten online control.
Jul 27

Will a booze tax war in the Baltics leave Latvia & Estonia with a bad hangover?
An alcohol tax war has broken out between Baltic neighbours Latvia and Estonia, who are among the EU’s biggest consumers of alcohol. First, a 25% alcohol duty cut came into force in Estonia on July 1, in a bid to stop people from travelling to Latvia to buy a cheap drink.
Jul 27

Serbian Protests Continue As Ruling Party Marks Seven Years In Power
Thousands of Serbs protested against the government in Belgrade on July 27 for the 34th weekend in a row. Some protesters filled public places with stickers featuring controversial quotes by President Aleksandar Vucic, while others threw mock ballots outside the presidential palace to mark the date that Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party ascended to power in 2012.
Jul 28

Ukraine To Launch Russian-Language TV To Counter Russian State Media
A senior aide to Ukraine’s president says Kyiv plans to launch a worldwide Russian-language television channel in an attempt to counter Russian state-controlled media broadcasts to people living in separatist controlled parts of eastern Ukraine and in Russia.
Jul 30

Prima claims HbbTV success
The Czech broadcaster Prima saw a significant increase in the number of clients implementing their advertsing campaigns through the Red Button in the first half of this year. According to the company, there was a 340% year-on-year rise in such HbbTV campaigns.
Jul 30

Latvia’s national media council chairperson considers leaving post
Latvia’s National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) chairperson Dace Ķezbere considers leaving her post. She says she has yet to write her resignation, but it will be done. NEPLP member Aurēlija Ieva Druviete says Ķezbere has informed other members of the council of her decision to step down. However, Druviete says she does not now if the resignation is ready or not.
Jul 31

Seimas will not consider LRT ad ban bill
Lithuanian lawmakers decided on Tuesday, July 16, not to consider a proposal to ban all advertising on the national radio and television (LRT) and its news website. In total 32 lawmakers voted for the inclusion of the amendment to the Law on the National Radio and Television, drafted by three members of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, to the parliament agenda, 16 were against and 26 abstained.
Jul 31

Mobile continues to drive growth in European digital advertising
This July, IAB Europe published the latest edition of its annual AdEx Benchmark report on the state of the European digital advertising market. The report, which focuses on market performance over 2018, brings together facts and figures from across Europe relating to growth, and delivers a breakdown of spend across digital advertising formats.

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