weCAN Digest August 2018
Media monitoring of the latest news about the media and advertising markets of Central and Eastern Europe
CME completes sale of Nova TV in Croatia to United Group's unit
International broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME) said it completed the sale of its Croatian business Nova TV to Slovenia Broadband, a subsidiary of multi-play operator United Group. CME received from the purchaser a cash consideration of 86.4 million euro ($101 million).
Orban loyalists take control of prominent Hungarian news channel
New management close to Prime Minister Viktor Orban took over a prominent Hungarian news television channel on Wednesday, cementing his ruling Fidesz party’s dominance of the media as it solidifies its hold on power.
Three Russian investigative journalists have been killed in Central African Republic
Three Russian journalists were ambushed and killed in the Central African Republic were probing the activities of a private military company with alleged links to the Kremlin, according to The Center for Investigation Management, the Russia-focused media outlet with which they were affiliated.
Večer and Dnevnik announce merger
Dnevnik and Večer, Slovenia's leading newspaper publishers, announced a merger on Wednesday, after they have applied for regulatory approvals from the Culture Ministry and the Competition Protection Agency.
This is how politics distorts the advertising market in Hungary: threats, blackmail and corruption
It has been widely known for years that the Hungarian government uses the allocation of state advertising to fund pro-government media, and thus those serve as key instruments of soft censorship. The goal of Mérték Média Monitor‘s latest research was to ascertain how advertising money spent by commercial/privately owned companies is diverted from certain media outlets for political or other reasons.
Mayor: Amount of outdoor advertisement to be reduced in Kyiv, including in subway
“We found a compromise with all the key players in the advertising market and agreed that there should be less outdoor advertising in the city. Today, for example, you will not see so-called cross street banners in the center of Kyiv. You will not see such a large number of billboards. The adopted rules are in effect. This will concern subway. We will minimize the amount of advertising that “hides” both the subway cars and the stations,” the Kyiv City Administration reported, citing the mayor speaking on the NewsOne news channel.
Press Freedom Is Still Under Attack in Slovakia
A journalist’s murder shocked the country in February, but it hasn’t led to a more independent media. There is a tangible fear that Slovakia is heading down the path of its illiberal neighbors, Hungary and PolandWhatever Reznik’s intentions might be, there is a tangible fear that Slovakia is heading down the path of its illiberal neighbors, Hungary and Poland.
Media: Romanian television Prima TV changes owner
Romanian investor Cristian Burci will sell his television Prima TV to Adrian Tomsa, the owner of the Look TV network. The transaction has been signed and is close to completion, according to Paginademedia.ro. Burci and Tomsa started talks last year. However, the deal also needs to be approved by Prima TV’s creditors, as the station has been in insolvency.
Hungarian ad site ranks among the best in the world
The AIM Group published for the first time its annual list of the top 100 global classified and marketplace sites in the world. They compared the number of monthly visits and unique visitors with the number of internet users in the given country. The American website, Craigslist took the first place, followed by Avito from Russia and the Chinese 58.com. From Hungary, Jófogás was the only website that made it to list, however it ranked 29th.
Lithuanian capital to launch ‘G-spot’ ad before papal visit
Tourism officials in Lithuania’s capital are coming under fire from the Catholic Church for a highly sexualized advertising campaign to promote the city as Pope Francis prepares to visit the country next month. The campaign features a woman lying on what looks like a bed sheet printed with a map of Europe, her hand gripping Lithuania in a way that suggests sexual pleasure. The text above her reads: “Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe” and “Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing.”
Media Group Ukraine partners with Eutelsat to broadcast Xtra TV
Eutelsat Communications has signed a multi-year, multi-transponder contract with Media Group Ukraine for broadcasting services on its Eutelsat 9B satellite. Media Group Ukraine will broadcast Xtra TV in eight thematic packages for all audiences.
Ukrainian media Internet advertising market expands by 32 percent in H1 2018
The Ukrainian media Internet advertising market expands by 32 percent in H1 2018, to Hr1.094 billion, the Ukrainian Internet Association (UIA) has said. The share of direct sales on this market over the period came to 56.13 percent.
Russia: Forbes magazine repeatedly censored by publisher
The publisher of the Russian edition of the American magazine Forbes, Alexander Fedotov, has prevented an article about two Russian tycoons’ criminal activities from going to print in the August 2018 issue. It is the latest in a series of highly concerning attempts by the publisher to undermine the magazine’s independence, which has now seen two editors fired in as many months.
One of the biggest banks in Slovakia halts outdoor advertising
One of the biggest banks in Slovakia, Slovenská Sporiteľňa, has halted the usage of outdoor advertising like billboards and citylights in its communication as of August 1. So far the bank was one of the top five outdoor advertisers. It spent €1.2 million on outdoor advertising in 2017, according to the Sme daily. Now they say they no longer want to contribute to the visual smog in public spaces.
Russia: Court issues first ever fine for cryptocurrency advertising
The case comes as Russia prepares to adopt wide-reaching regulation governing cryptocurrencies, mining and other areas. Currently, cryptocurrencies are not considered sanctioned financial services.
Emboldened Viktor Orbán cracks down on friend turned foe
With four more years in power secured, Orbán moved to neutralise the threat from his old friend, and over the past few weeks the oligarch has sold all his businesses. More significantly for the political scene in Hungary – where most media backs Orbán and his fear campaign about migration – Simicska’s media empire has been systematically dismantled.
Premium British drama channel BBC First to launch in Poland
BBC First, the premium British drama brand from BBC Studios’ portfolio, is to launch as linear channel in Poland on 26th October 2018. The channel, which will be available with full English and Polish subtitles, will replace BBC HD and will be accessible through DTH, cable and IPTV providers alongside BBC Brit, BBC Earth, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies and BBC World News. The introduction of BBC First will see the full BBC channel portfolio offered to viewers in Poland for the first time.
Serbia: Administrative harassment against Juzne Vesti news portal
Series of administrative intimidation acts have been taken by the local authorities against Serbian news portal Juzne Vesti, with an increasing pressure in the last six months. The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) reported that the long lasting intimidation against the news portal works as a model for putting pressure on media critical to the government in Serbia. The last investigation of Juzne Vesti resulted in a legal notice against the news portal obliging it to pay a million dinars (more or less 8,400 EUR), even though no irregularities in tax activities were found.
Huge changes in Estonia’s publishing landscape as big players merge
A new publishing company - Õhtuleht Kirjastus - was born in June when two of Estonia’s influential publishers reached a merger agreement. New CEO Erik Heinsaar, who at 28 is the youngest CEO in Estonian publishing business, explains how this huge and diverse portfolio of titles will find synergies and growth.
Serbia: Journalist associations express strong concern over media strategy
Six journalists’ and media organizations made demands to the Serbian government on 16 August 2018 as a condition for their involvement in drawing up a national media strategy. They presented the demands to the Government Coordination Body for Cooperation with Media aimed at solving burning problems at the media scene in Serbia, saying that they will not give legitimacy to the new media strategy without parallel solving of the current problems stated in the request.
Russia's problem with social media memes
Scores of Russian internet users are being arrested, prosecuted and saddled with fines and even prison time for sharing or even liking memes on social networks. Authorities say these images, most of them satirical, are "insulting" and sometimes promote religious intolerance or extremist views. Why are the accusations so nebulous – and the sentences so harsh? And what does this mean for social media companies and regulating free speech online?
The richest Czech to become one of the most powerful People in BiH?
Petr Kellner, the richest Czech and a man from Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world, could become one of the most powerful people in BiH soon. As unofficially announced by the media, his investment fund PPF, whose value is estimated at 35 billion EUR, is interested in taking over the company United Group. United Group is a large regional corporation that owns the largest cable operator in BiH, Telemach, one of the most influential televisions N1 and Sport Club.
Nova to Sell Ad Time for A1 Bulgaria
The partnership between the two companies comes at a time when the Czech Republic’s PPF Group is trying to buy Nova. It already owns Telenor Bulgaria, so A1 could find itself in the portfolio of a media group with the same ownership as its competitor Telenor.
Major ad market change in Russia
Online ad spend in Russia exceeded that for TV the first time in H1 this year. Figures published by the Association of Communication Agencies in Russia (AKAR) show that total ad spend in the first six months of 2018, net of VAT, amounted to R219 billion (€2.79 billion), or 13% more than in the corresponding period in 2017.
Turnover of All Media Latvia up 8.8% in 2017
All Media Latvia media group last year generated 18.467 mln euros in sales, up 8.8% from a year ago, while the profit shrank 2.2 times to 1.392 mln euros, informs LETA.
Romania's anti-trust body approves takeover of Gazeta Sporturilor, GSP.ro by Ringier Sportal
Romania's anti-trust regulator said on Thursday that it has approved the takeover of Romanian sports brand Gazeta Sporturilor by Ringier Sportal, a joint venture of Ringier Romania and Bulgaria's Sportal Media Group. "Following a review of the transaction, the Competition Council found that it does not raise significant obstacles to effective competition in the market, in particular by establishing or strengthening of a dominant position," the anti-trust authority said in a statement.
Russia secretly finances news outlets in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia as part of information warfare
Russian state media created secret companies in order to bankroll websites in the Baltic states — a key battleground between Russia and the West — and elsewhere in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, according to Buzzfeed. The scheme has only come to light through Skype chats and documents obtained by BuzzFeed News, Estonian newspaper Postimees, and investigative journalism outlet Re:Baltica via freedom of information laws, as part of a criminal probe into the individual who was Moscow’s man on the ground in Estonia.
Lithuanian Media Sign Pact With Govt to Counter Hackers
Lithuania's major online media outlets on Tuesday signed an agreement to work with the defence ministry as they try to fend off a growing barrage of cyber attacks, largely blamed on Russia.
Czech outdoor to dismantle its roadside billboards
The Czech Outdoor advertising agency has promised to remove all its roadside billboards by the end of September, according to Transport Ministry spokesman Jakub Stadler. This is in line with a 2017 law which bans advertisement billboards within 250 meters from main roads and highways for safety reasons. The legislation met with strong opposition from outdoor advertising operators some of whom attempted to bypass it by replacing advertisements with gigantic Czech flags and other non-commercial posters. According to the ministry close to a thousand billboards still have to be dismantled.
Biggest media group’s CEO sees further growth potential on Romania’s advertising market
The advertising market in Romania has been growing and the trend should also maintain in 2019, PRO TV CEO Aleksandras Cesnavicius said in an interview with local Paginademedia.ro. “I don’t see a major change due to the evolution of the digital segment. I don’t think the digital area will take from TV budgets, for the moment,” he said.
Latvia: prison for fake news?
In August, the Latvian police arrested a 21-year-old resident of Riga. He was responsible for the establishment of a network of niche websites spreading fake news across Latvia. This is one of few cases when people spreading fake news on the Internet are penalised. The case of the young Latvian also proves that spreading fake news does not have to be motivated by a political activity, but sometimes it is a way of making easy money on people’s curiosity.
Ukraine- Government approves bill that bans advertising 'folk medicine'
The government has supported a resolution on the bill that cancels the issuance of a special permit from the Health Ministry for the practicing of folk medicine (healing) and prohibits its advertisement.
Crisis at Croatia’s leading retailer Agrokor hurts advertising sector in Southeast Europe
Advertising spending in Southeast Europe grew by 7% in 2017 to reach €1.17bn, but was hurt by a crisis at Croatia’s leading retailer Agrokor that spilled over into the media sector last year, reports weCAN, a leading network of independent advertising agencies in Central and Eastern Europe. The combined spending of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia made up 9% of the total ad spending of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region last year, which is dominated by the big countries in Central Europe.
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