weCAN Digest June 2018

Media monitoring of the latest news about the media and advertising markets of Central and Eastern Europe
Government-aligned businessmen took over regional media in Hungary, are rewarded with huge profits
The newspaper business is struggling globally, but not in rural Hungary; government-aligned media companies that took over the entire regional media scene had a spectacular year financially in 2017. Mediaworks, the company owned by one of prime minister Viktor Orban’s close friends, managed to triple its advertising revenue in a year. In Hungary, the government and state-owned enterprises are huge advertisers. In fact, the decisions they make about where to advertise decide the fate of several media companies.
June 1
Safe in Hungary, Viktor Orban Pushes His Message Across Europe
In the past two years, Hungarian businessmen close to Mr. Orban have quietly invested in, or started, a handful of right-wing media outlets in Slovenia and in Macedonia. One, Skandal24, a sensationalist gossip magazine, took aim at some of Mr. Jansa’s opponents with salacious, thinly sourced articles. Another, the television channel Nova24TV, ran alarmist reports about migrants — and also got an “exclusive” interview with Mr. Orban in May.
June 4
#hungary #slovenia
Russia’s Troll Factory Just Launched A New Website Targeting Americans
As the awkward name suggests, this venture isn’t the most sophisticated operation. However, its existence shows that Russia is still actively pursuing new avenues to reach American audiences (particularly Trump supporters, as you’ll see shortly)—and despite all the congressional hearings and headlines about digital manipulation, a clearly Russian-backed project was able to establish (and in at least one case, maintain) a presence on two of the largest social media platforms in America.
June 5
Making Russia an e-Republic
Russia’s newly inaugurated president Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with making Russia a top-five global economy by 2024 the day he was confirmed in office for the fourth time. Several of Russia’s largest tech and financial companies have teamed up to deliver on that promise and completely transform the Russian online market.
June 5
Russian TV show accused of Photoshopping a smile on Kim Jong Un
A picture released with the statement shows the two men shaking hands in front of a large mural. King Jong Un is stone-faced, his lips pulling down. Yet in its report on the meeting aired on Sunday, Russian TV station Rossiya-1 shows Kim Jong Un smiling awkwardly.
June 5
Bulgaria Limits Gambling Advertising
Advertising of gambling will be limited and broadcasted only after 22:00. This was proposed by Bulgarian Council for Electronic Media (CEM). The Proposal of the media regulator is expected to be formally drafted and submitted to the Parliament.
June 6
United Media seeks anti-trust clearance to acquire Serbia's Direct Media
Swiss-based United Media said it applied with the Serbian competition authority to acquire 100% of the business of Belgrade-headquartered Direct Media group in Serbia, Albania, Macedonia
and Montenegro. The transaction will also include free-to-air TV stations Pink BiH and Pink Crna Gora, United Media said in an e-mailed statement late on Tuesday.
June 6
Lufthansa bins Russia World Cup ad it controversially shot in Kiev instead of Moscow
With Ukraine and Russia in a territorial stand-off ahead of the World Cup, Lufthansa has struck up tension after it was revealed to have shot its ad for the tournament in Kiev instead of the host nation's Moscow.
June 6
#ukraine #russia
Media advertising revenue dropped in 2017
According to estimates by the Croatian Association of Communications Agencies (HURA), last year advertisers invested 1.47 billion
kuna in advertising space, which was a drop of 1.4% compared to 2016 and the first time it decreased after four years and can be mainly attributed to the consequences of the Agrokor crisis.
June 9
What Arkady Babchenko's staged murder means for journalism
Babchenko's story is also part of an ongoing media battle, and a larger geopolitical conflict between the Western-backed government in Ukraine and Russia, which says the initial breathless coverage of the Babchenko story is yet another example of how much of the international media are intent on smearing the Kremlin.
June 11
Group set up to prevent misinformation campaigns prior to election
The group includes representatives from all the country's ministries, the Constitution Protection Bureau, and the Security Police. It is intended to facilitate coordination and exchange of information to counter potential misinformation campaigns disseminated in Latvia's media space prior to the parliamentary election.
June 11
Investigation reveals conglomerate's control of Lithuanian media and politics
The extent of control MG Baltic exerted over media reports about politicians, as well as its power to appoint party leadership, and split and merge political parties is an ideal illustration of the power of business in contemporary politics.
June 11
Ben & Jerry’s Marks Pride in Poland with Water-Light Rainbow Hologram
Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream brand owned by Unilever, rebuilt an “unbreakable” rainbow in Warsaw for LGBTQ+ rights. The rainbow, a water-light hologram, was the same size of the original 2012 floral installation which was torn down seven times by nationalists and opponents of LGBTQ+ rights, and so removed in 2015.
June 12
At Russia's First World Cup, China Advertisers to Dominate
Chinese brands will account for more than a third of the estimated $2.4 billion in additional advertising spending worldwide related to the month-long tournament, Zenith estimates.
June 12
Who's Influencing the Media In Slovakia
Slovaks consume news more frequently and in bigger amounts than ever before. They have access to a plethora of publications, news portals, radio and television stations. However, much of that is in the hands of a few powerful financial corporations, closely linked with political groups.
June 13
Social media to create a ‘fertile environment’ for advertisers at Russia World Cup
Such is the opportunity that Zenith has forecast the World Cup will contribute an additional $2.4bn of ad spend to what is expected to be a $579bn market in 2018. That might seem a small percentage – it’s 0.41% of the total industry this year. But that is up from 0.3% in 2014 – when spend was up by $1.5bn in a market worth $488bn.
June 14
Papa Diego, dish of the day for Polish media giant
The media conglomerate Agora, the owner of Gazeta Wyborcza, edited by former Communist era dissident Adam Michnik, has sold all its shares in the Stopklatka private television broadcaster, owner of the movie channel Stopklatka TV and announced its strategy for years 2018-2022.
June 15
Russia orders media blackout on crime news for World Cup
Police departments in Russia's 85 regions have not published any news about catching criminals or solving crimes since June 6, the news site Mediazona found. The press service of the interior ministry in Krasnodar, where host city Sochi is located, told Mediazona that it was on orders to put out only “positive” information.
June 15
Czech president calls press conference for underwear burning
Czech President Milos Zeman called a press conference on Thursday to set a giant pair of red underpants on fire. The president arranged the impromptu event without giving a reason, prompting widespread speculation. He then burned the giant pair of red underpants, once used by an artist group to criticise him, in a makeshift fire pit.
June 15
#czech republic
The World Cup has become such a toxic brand that Western companies are choosing not to advertise with it
The reason is simple: brand transference. This marketing theory asserts that a consumer’s knowledge or feeling around a brand – be it a place, person or product – will transfer to the brand it’s linked with in an advertisement or marketing campaign. In this case, it’s the connection with tainted “brands” such as Russia and Fifa that has some Western companies cautious ahead of the World Cup. However, these associations haven’t proved a problem for brands from other parts of the world, such as Chinese companies Dalian Wanda, Hisense, Vivo and Mengniu Dairy, Qatar Airways, and Russia’s Gazprom, who have happily stepped in to fill the void.
June 18
World Cup 2018: Russian media mock 'husband-hunters'
The Russian arm of the fast-food chain Burger King has apologised after offering women a reward of 3m roubles (£36,000; $47,000) and free Whopper burgers for life if they got pregnant with a World Cup player's baby.
June 20
VOD ad clutter grows in Poland
Ad clutter is becoming increasingly common on the VOD services operated by Poland’s leading broadcasters TVP, Polsat and TVN.
June 22
Ireland's Communicorp Media completes sale of Bulgarian radio stations
Ireland-based radio group Communicorp said it has completed the deal to sell its radio stations in Bulgaria to the local management team, who have created a new holding company, Fresh Media Bulgaria.
June 25
Media Group Ukraine expands to European markets
The Ukrainian media holding Media Group Ukraine (MGU) has registered a company named MSC Media in Latvia. In a statement, it says that this is another step in the implementation of the strategy of monetising its content and entry into new markets. It adds that the mission of MSC Media will be to represent the interests of MGU in the international market.
June 27
Romanian state bank "sacks" Papaya advertising company over political disagreement
"The decision came less than 24 hours after the company announced that it would give all its employees a day off on Wednesday to join the protest against the ruling coalition", romania-insider.com reads, "set to take place on Wednesday at the Parliament's Palace, according to a message on Papaya's Facebook page."
June 27
Marie Claire Serbia to launch as a multi-media brand
GROUPE MARIE CLAIRE and ATTICA MEDIA SRB have the pleasure to announce the launch of a Serbian edition of Marie Claire. The monthly magazine’s debut edition will hit the newsstands in October 2018, with the website and social media channels going live in September 2018.
June 27
Public broadcasters leave advertising market in 2021
The Latvian parliament (Saeima) has passed in the final reading the bill about withdrawal of the public broadcasters from the advertising market in 2021. As regards the financing needed for the purpose, the lawmakers will have to vote on it when adopting the respective annual or multi-annual national budget.
June 28
Polish anti-monopoly watchdog approves big takeover on media market
The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in Poland approved the takeover of Eurozet Group, the broadcaster of several Polish radio stations by Czech Media Invest. The purchase of Polish, Czech, Romanian and Slovakian radio stations owned by Lagardère by Czech Media Invest was announced in April. The transaction fee is EUR 73 mln.
June 29
#poland #czech republic #slovakia #romania
Debate over Poland’s graphic anti-abortion billboards rages on
Over the past years a number of controversial billboards have fanned the flames of the never-ending controversy between pro-life and pro-choice sides.
June 30
Russia accuses France 24 TV of breaking media law
Russia's media regulator on Friday accused RFI's sister TV channel, France 24, of breaking the country's media laws, following a French warning to Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT.
France 24 is in violation of Russia's ban on foreigners from holding more than a 20-percent stake in Russian media outlets, forcing them to be controlled by local legal entities, the Russian watchdog, Roszkomnadzor, said in a statement.
June 30
Mobile Advertising’s Largest Market Identified as Eastern Europe
Following an annual study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in Europe, their research has revealed that alongside seeing a vast amount of growth in most European advertising markets, the largest benefactor for 2017 was Eastern Europe. The CEE countries to see the largest amount of growth were Belarus (33.9%), Serbia (23.7%) and Russia (21.9%).
June 30
State-owned energy company spent €17.3 million on advertising in two years
MVM Zrt. is the state-owned Hungarian energy group that has a monopoly over supplying electricity to customers in the country. Despite the fact that it has zero competition and customers have no choice in this market, the company spends a considerable amount of money on advertising its services. Most of this money was spent on buying advertising space or airtime in pro-government media outlets. This suggests that this is one way for the Orban government to finance the media empire that is uncritically supportive of its agenda.
July 1
Photo: Unsplash