weCAN Digest December 2019

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

Major cable deal in Romania
RCS&RDS (Digi) has agreed to buy Romania’s largest independent cable operator AKTA (Digital Cable Systems – DCS) in what has been described as a “complex transaction”. Romania Insider reports it will see Digi, which is the leading provider of cable and fixed-line internet services in the country, use the networks owned by DCS and another smaller player (ATTP Telecommunications) for a period of three years, paying rent of up to €77 million.
Dec 2
https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2019/12/02/major-cable-deal-in-romania/

Russia to upgrade homegrown encyclopedia after Putin pans Wikipedia
Russia is to set up a new online site for its national encyclopedia after President Vladimir Putin said Wikipedia was unreliable and should be replaced. The move will ensure people can find “reliable information that is constantly updated on the basis of scientifically verified sources of knowledge,” a government resolution said.
Dec 2
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-wikipedia/russia-to-upgrade-homegrown-encyclopedia-after-putin-pans-wikipedia-idUSKBN1Y61DA

Ukrainian media jump the gun on Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap
Relying on reports from anonymous Telegram channels, Ukrainian media picked up false information on a political prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine.
Dec 2
https://medium.com/dfrlab/ukrainian-media-jump-the-gun-on-russia-ukraine-prisoner-swap-3216f860bc04

Press watchdogs call for EU to act over Hungary media curbs
Hungary has stifled its independent media and imposed a level of control over journalists that is unprecedented in an EU country, according to a joint report from six international press watchdogs that calls on EU leaders to take action.
Dec 3
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-hungary-media-freedom/press-watchdogs-call-for-eu-to-act-over-hungary-media-curbs-idUSKBN1Y726H

New report: Hungary dismantles media freedom and pluralism
This report reflects the initial findings of the joint mission to Hungary carried out by the International Press Institute (IPI), Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). […] Since 2010, the Hungarian government has systematically dismantled media independence, freedom and pluralism, distorted the media market and divided the journalistic community in the country, achieving a degree of media control unprecedented in an EU member state.
Dec 3
https://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2019/12/03/new-report-hungary-dismantles-media-freedom-and-pluralism/

Smoker Data Revealed In British-American Tobacco Breach In Romania
Smoker data has been exposed in the breach of a Romanian web platform owned by British American Tobacco (BAT). […] The web platform is tied to a BAT Romania promotional campaign targeting adult smokers, vpnMentor discovered.
Dec 4
https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/344134/smoker-data-revealed-in-british-american-tobacco-b.html

A1 Bulgaria opts for Zappware
A1 Bulgaria has launched A1 Xplore TV, an advanced turnkey TV solution powered by Zappware. The service offers over 220 TV channels, more than 130 of which are available with seven-day catch-up; five 4K channels; on demand content; premium sports; and the A1 Bulgaria channels Max Sport 1,2,3 and 4. It also comes with A1 Xplore TV Go, proving continuity in the overall TV experience.
Dec 4
https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2019/12/04/a1-bulgaria-opts-for-zappware/

Russia Media Freedom: New laws label journalists & bloggers ‘foreign agents’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two controversial security bills into law. One will require certain technology sold in the country to include pre-installed software from the government. The other would designate certain journalists and bloggers as “foreign agents.”
Dec 4
https://www.euronews.com/2019/12/04/russia-media-freedom-new-laws-label-journalists-bloggers-foreign-agents

Bosnia’s parliament endorses new prime minister
Zoran Tegeltija was endorsed by parliament on Thursday as Bosnia’s new prime minister and said he would work to make up for lost time after a 13-month deadlock on forming a government.
Dec 5
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bosnia-primeminister-parliament/bosnias-parliament-endorses-new-prime-minister-idUSKBN1Y91N9

IPTV HD first in Lithuania
Lithuania’s Radio and Television Centre (Telecentras) has introduced IPTV-delivered HD services to home TV screens. In a statement, it says that back in December 2016 it was the first in Lithuania, and one of the first in the world, to start broadcasting Mezon TV (IPTV) programmes to homes over the 4G LTE network. Now, some are being offered in HD.
Dec 5
https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2019/12/05/iptv-hd-first-in-lithuania/

Croatia’s former PM Milanovic wins presidential vote
Former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, candidate of the top opposition party the Social Democrats, will be Croatia’s next president, the results of the presidential election showed on Sunday.
Jan 5
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-croatia-election-president/croatias-former-pm-milanovic-wins-presidential-vote-idUSKBN1Z404W

It’s Apple Vs Putin, As Russia’s New Smartphone Ban Approaches
New legislation in Russia that will ban consumer gadgets that do not come preinstalled with Russian software is now being characterized as a “law against Apple,” pitching the U.S. tech giant against Putin in the latest chapter of the emerging technology split between East and West.
Dec 5
https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/12/05/its-apple-vs-putin-as-russias-new-smartphone-ban-approaches/

Ahead Of Ukraine Talks, Russian TV Promotes Fake Report About ‘Donbas Deportation’
In the runup to December 9 peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, Russian state media is disseminating a fake-news report that alleges that Kyiv plans to force residents from areas of the Donbas region controlled by pro-Russian separatists to migrate and undergo “re-education.”
Dec 6
https://pressroom.rferl.org/a/ahead-of-ukraine-talks-russian-tv-promotes-fake-report-about-donbas-deportation-/30318210.html

Hungary competition authority fines Facebook $4 million
Facebook has been fined around $4 million for allegedly misleading its users in Hungary by claiming the use of its services was free, the Hungarian Competition Authority said Friday. The authority called the fine of 1.2 billion forints ($4.01 million, 3.63 million euros) the largest-ever issued in Hungary in a matter of consumer protection.
Dec 6
https://apnews.com/87b8b67086873a46bfeb33a1dc820483

Czech cable market consolidates
The Cyprus-registered company Kaprain Industrial Holding has acquired a 100% stake in Czech operator CentroNet from Eco-Investment for CZK226,666,000 (€8.87 million). Digizone reports that Kaprain already owns Nej TV, one of the Czech Republic’s leading cable operators, and last year also bought Rio Media, a long established operators, and several smaller cable TV providers in North Bohemia and North Moravia.
Dec 6
https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2019/12/06/czech-cable-market-consolidates-2/

Why did Telecom Slovenia remove Šport TV channels from its offer?
A big surprise happened in the distribution of sports TV channels in Slovenia. Namely, on December 2nd, 2019, the offer of Telecom Slovenia, which is majority-owned by the Republic of Slovenia, no longer has tv channels Šport TV1, Šport TV2, and Šport TV3. To make the surprise even bigger, the co-operation stopped during the handball match of the Slovenian women’s national team at the World Cup in Japan.
Dec 6
https://mediadaily.biz/en/2019/12/06/why-did-telecom-slovenia-remove-sport-tv-channels-from-its-offer/

Report: Social media networks fail to root out fake accounts
Social media companies from Facebook to YouTube are failing to stop people from setting up fake accounts, buying false online followers and promoting inauthentic digital content, according to a report published Friday by a NATO-accredited group
Dec 6
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/06/social-media-networks-fake-accounts-report-076939

Too much corporate hurrah: Writer on English-language marketing in Estonia
Copywriting, content marketing and promotional materials in English have long been something of a curate’s egg when it comes to quality. Some work is excellent, other offerings put up for public consumption would make virtually any native English speaker cringe.
Dec 8
https://news.err.ee/1011635/too-much-corporate-hurrah-writer-on-english-language-marketing-in-estonia

How Would Russia’s Ban from Olympics and Football World Cup May Impact Marketing Trends
We know now the power of content and its larger impact on global and local marketing campaigns, especially if there is a negative development related to fake news and technology abuse. Russia’s doping ban will lead to a dramatic loss in traffic, revenue and popularity for Russian-centric brands.
Dec 9
https://martechseries.com/analytics/russias-ban-olympics-football-world-cup-impact-marketing-trends/

Home Credit of wealthiest Czech Petr Kellner has paid for a campaign promoting China
According to documents obtained by Aktuálně.cz, a PR agency hired by Home Credit, a company owned by the wealthiest Czech, Petr Kellner, has been sought to influence Czech society to the benefit of Communist China.
Dec 11
https://zpravy.aktualne.cz/domaci/home-credit-ppf-petr-kellner-campaign-china/r~265579361bf511ea926e0cc47ab5f122/

Russian TV to air comedy starring Ukraine president
Russian TV was set Wednesday to start airing a popular comedy series starring Ukraine’s actor-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky as new efforts were underway to de-escalate a conflict in east Ukraine. The Russian premiere of “Servant of the People”, to screen on the entertainment channel TNT, comes two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky met in Paris for their first face-to-face talks.
Dec 11
https://www.france24.com/en/20191211-russian-tv-to-air-comedy-starring-ukraine-president

Surgeon and musician held over Ukraine journalist’s murder
Ukrainian police have detained five people, including a paediatric surgeon and a rock musician, over a 2016 car bomb attack that killed the investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet.
Dec 12
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/12/surgeon-and-musician-held-over-ukraine-journalist-pavel-sheremet

Prague setting new rules for store signage in the historical center
Prague plans to crack down in inappropriate advertising in the city center, following on efforts to clean up the center by eliminating giant animal costumes and soap bubbles that were also deemed to be “visual smog.” […]The new rules will be binding on all city-owned buildings.
Dec 13
https://news.expats.cz/real-estate/prague-setting-new-rules-for-store-signage-in-the-historical-center/

First Logo Laser billboard installed in Serbia – A whole new concept of outdoor advertising
The first Logo Laser billboard in Serbia has been installed on the facade of the new office building Ziegel House in Autokomanda. This is a whole new concept of outdoor advertising, so far not seen in these areas.
Dec 13
https://www.ekapija.com/en/news/2719730/first-logo-laser-billboard-installed-in-serbia-a-whole-new-concept-of

IPTV dominates in Croatia
The number of IPTV subscribers in Croatia stood at 435,220 at the end of the third quarter, or 4.76% more than in the same period last year.
Dec 13
https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2019/12/13/iptv-dominates-in-croatia/

Telekom Srbija secures Bosnia asset
Serbia’s Competition Commission has approved the acquisition of the Banja Luka-based company Financ by Mtel, which is 65% owned by Telekom Srbija. According to Nezavisne, Financ sells and distributes Telekom services in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It also provides internet and IPTV services.
Dec 13
https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2019/12/13/telekom-srbija-secures-bosnia-asset/

Television crew of Russia’s propagandist channel on visit to Kyiv
At the press briefing in Paris that followed the Normandy format meeting President Zelenskyi invited Russian propagandists to come to the contact line in Donbas to see in their own eyes what is going on there. […] What seemed to be a joke at the press-conference very quickly turned to be true. In Russia they took the invitation literally.
Dec 13
http://uacrisis.org/74361-propagandist-channel

Ukraine deports blogger to Azerbaijan where he faces prison, torture
Ukraine has reportedly deported an Azerbaijani blogger to Baku, where he faces prison and torture for criticizing the government. The State Migration Service of Azerbaijan announced on Dec. 14 that Elvin Isayev had been deported from Ukraine on Dec. 12 for “violating immigration laws.” He was wanted by the Azerbaijani authorities and is reportedly being held in a detention center in Baku now.
Dec 15
https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/ukraine-deports-blogger-to-azerbaijan-where-he-faces-prison.html?cn-reloaded=1

Competition Office fines Vodafone nearly HUF 1.2 bln
Hungaryʼs Competition Office (GVH) on Saturday said it fined Vodafone Magyarország almost HUF 1.2 billion for false advertising, state news wire MTI reports.
Dec 16
https://bbj.hu/business/competition%20office%20fines%20vodafone%20nearly%20huf%201.2%20bln_175777

The Kremlin’s Creative Director
How the television producer Konstantin Ernst went from discerning auteur to Putin’s unofficial minister of propaganda.
Dec 16
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/12/16/the-kremlins-creative-director

Insight TV preps Poland launch
Insight TV, the 4K HDR broadcaster, content creator and format seller, is continuing its European expansion with a debut in Poland in the new year. Insight TV will be launching on one of Poland’s major cable operators TOYA in January 2020.
Dec 16
https://advanced-television.com/2019/12/16/insight-tv-preps-poland-launch/

Pole and Hungarian brothers be. How Warsaw and Budapest use taxpayers’ money to build pro-government propaganda
Warsaw follows in Budapest’s footsteps with a growing stream of taxpayers’ money funnelled to media outlets that openly support the ruling party. Both governments are then repaid in kind with propaganda broadcasts created by journalists who never seem inclined to ask any hard questions.
Dec 18
https://vsquare.org/pole-and-hungarian-brothers-be-eu-member-states-fuel-the-rise-of-pro-government-propaganda-with-taxpayers-money/

Serbia editor due to address U.N. graft meeting turned away from UAE
An editor of a Serbian website that investigates organized crime was denied entry to Abu Dhabi, where he was due to address a U.N. conference on corruption, after being told he had been blacklisted by an unidentified country, the journalist said.
Dec 18
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-serbia-emirates-journalist/serbia-editor-due-to-address-u-n-graft-meeting-turned-away-from-uae-idUSKBN1YM1Z1

EC non-paper on Serbia: Pressures on media and judiciary still very much present
An informal document of the European Commission on the situation in Chapters 23 and 24 in negotiations with Serbia, the so-called “non-paper”, has been published on the website of the Serbian Ministry of European Integration. It represents a six-month report that informs the EU Member States on the situation in areas of key importance for the European integration process.
Dec 18
https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2019/12/18/ec-non-paper-on-serbia-pressures-on-media-and-judiciary-still-very-much-present/

Ukraine: Ukraine Newsletter: New Approach To Comparative Advertising In Ukraine
On 11 December 2019, the Law of Ukraine ”On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of Ukraine (on the harmonization of legislation with the law of the European Union in the field of comparative advertising)“ No. 286-IX (the Law) aimed at clarifying and supplementing the rules of the use of comparative advertising in Ukraine came into force.
Dec 18
http://www.mondaq.com/x/875994/advertising+marketing+branding/Ukraine+Newsletter+New+Approach+To+Comparative+Advertising+In+Ukraine

Media Owners Committee formed in Poland
Representatives of Polish TV broadcasters have decided to set up a new organisation whose goal is to represent the interests of the union members in the field of media consumption research, and in particular TV media.
Dec 19
https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2019/12/19/media-owners-committee-formed-in-poland/

Key mobile advertising trends in Russia in 2018-2019
According to Mediascope data, 69% of the Russian population uses mobile devices to go online. Out of these, 22.6% use exclusively mobile devices to be online. From 2018 to 2019 the share of mobile users grew by 13%, and of exclusively mobile users by 17%.
Dec 19
https://russiansearchmarketing.com/mobile-advertising-russia-2019/

Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes first-ever comprehensive report on media development
UNESCO has just released a new publication on the media landscape in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), making it a unique reference guide for national stakeholders in addressing challenges towards a free, independent and professional media environment.
Dec 19
https://en.unesco.org/news/bosnia-and-herzegovina-welcomes-first-ever-comprehensive-report-media-development

How to regulate Transparency of Media Ownership in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
How to regulate transparency of media ownership with the goal of protection and development of true media pluralism that stands for pluralism of information, ideas and sources of information? What to regulate and what is to be left for self-regulation? How to promote the process of self-regulation, of the media and marketing industry?
Dec 19
https://www.sarajevotimes.com/how-to-regulate-transparency-of-media-ownership-in-bosnia-herzegovina/

In Slovakia, a corrupt state goes on trial
The killing last year of Ján Kuciak, 27, and Martina Kušnírová sparked the largest public demonstrations Slovakia had seen since the end of communism in 1989. Prime Minister Robert Fico was forced to quit under pressure, and electoral support for his ruling Smer party fell below 20 percent for the first time in almost two decades. And yet the investigation into the murders has made clear that the corruption at the heart of Slovak public life has deep roots.
Dec 20
https://www.politico.eu/article/slovakia-trial-corrupt-state-murders/

OSCE media representative urges Estonia to refrain from pressure on Sputnik
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir has called on Tallinn to refrain from restrictions against journalists of the Estonian agency Sputnik (owned by MIA Rossiya Segodnya), Desir wrote on his Twitter page on Saturday.
Dec 21
https://tass.com/society/1102115

Russia ‘successfully tests’ its unplugged internet
Russia has successfully tested a country-wide alternative to the global internet, its government has announced. Details of what the test involved were vague but, according to the Ministry of Communications, ordinary users did not notice any changes.
Dec 24
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50902496

Moscow to take retaliatory action against British media – Russian news agencies
Russia will take retaliatory measures against British media operating on Russian territory over what it regards as unfriendly action taken by British authorities against its own journalists, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday.
Dec 26
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-russia-media/moscow-to-take-retaliatory-action-against-british-media-russian-news-agencies-idUKKBN1YU0HC

Moscow Will Take Retaliatory Action Against British Media
Russia will take retaliatory measures against British media operating on Russian territory over what it regards as unfriendly action taken by British authorities against its own journalists, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday.
Dec 26
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/12/26/moscow-will-talk-retaliatory-action-against-british-media-a68754

Media portrayal of alcohol does not match its real harm effects in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic ranks among countries with the highest alcohol consumption per capita. Several older studies discuss Czech media portrayal of health effects of alcohol, but we found no recent analysis of media portrayal of harms caused by alcohol consumption. Our analysis aims to fill this gap in.
Dec 27
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31901194

Russia threatens countermeasures against Estonia over Sputnik sanctions
Russia is to take tough steps in retaliation against pressure put on journalists working for Russian news agency Sputnik in Estonia, speaker of the Russian parliament Valentina Matviyenko, said on Thursday, according to ERR’s online news in Estonian.
Dec 27
https://news.err.ee/1018124/russia-threatens-countermeasures-against-estonia-over-sputnik-sanctions

NEO Finance fined for advertise violation
The Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania, after examining the NEO Finance, AB advertisements available on the social network Facebook, www.paskoluklubas.lt, and other websites, established that the company, […], did not properly present standard information on consumer credits […] and also violated the requirements of the Law on Consumer Credit.
Dec 30
https://en.delfi.lt/business/neo-finance-fined-for-advertise-violation.d?id=83153433

Crimean-Based Blogger Deported to Ukraine After Critical Social-Media Posts
A Yalta-based blogger who initially supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea but then later wrote critical posts about officials has been deported to Ukraine. Yevhen Gayvoronskiy was taken by officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Migration Service to Ukraine’s border in the Luhansk region, said Refat Chubarov, the chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, in a Facebook post on Dec. 31.
Dec 31
https://www.voanews.com/press-freedom/crimean-based-blogger-deported-ukraine-after-critical-social-media-posts

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