weCAN Digest July 2018

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

Need a World Cup mural? Russian paints giant portrait of his wife on Moscow wall
The head of a Russian advertising agency tasked with decorating Moscow facades ahead of the soccer World Cup used the opportunity to commission a 12-storey high mural of his wife.
July 3

Another setback for Hungary’s opposition media
The Hungarian oligarch Lajos Simicska, once one of Viktor Orbán’s confidantes but now his opponent, has announced that he is selling his companies to the pro-government oligarch Zsolt Nyerges. His empire encompasses media outlets that were closed down immediately after Orbán’s re-election. Commentators now also see the anti-government TV broadcaster HírTV in danger and voice their dismay.
July 4

Bulgaria MPs Back Media Law Changes Pushed by Mogul
Bulgaria’s parliament has supported controversial legal amendments that oblige media to reveal the sources of their income – pushed by the media mogul and politican Delyan Peevski.
July 4

Hungarian nuclear plant spent 7.2 million euros on advertising itself in two years
The Orban government built up a huge media empire that serves its interests and spreads its messages. This media group is financially supported by the advertising budget of state-owned companies. The Paks nuclear plant, for example, spent more than seven million euros on advertising itself in the past two years.
July 5

Russia Fines RFE/RL Over Alleged ‘Foreign-Agent’ Violations
A Moscow court has fined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) after ruling that it had failed to comply with a Russian law regulating media outlets branded by the government as “foreign agents.”
July 5

Russia: Journalists and media are not “agents”
On 3 July, a new media law was approved in Russia that will have as a consequence that independent journalists who publish their work in media will be qualified as “foreign agents” if they are funded from abroad. Those who receive payments for their production will also be considered as “foreign agents”. This status will lead them automatically to a complicated taxation procedure.
July 6

The Bulgarian Competition Authority Published a Sector Analysis of the Media Market in the Country
Given the level of concentration and vertical integration on the market, the Commission notes that establishing a special register would have a positive effect. The register should provide information on the beneficial owners of all media and media content providers.
July 10

Facebook labels Russian users as ‘interested in treason’
Facebook’s advertising tools algorithmically labelled 65,000 Russians as interested in treason, potentially putting them at risk from the repressive state, until the company removed the category, following inquiries from journalists.
July 11

Fast growing Spring Media acquires majority stake in Latvian media house Sportacentrs
International sports rights agency Spring Media has today announced the acquisition of a majority share in Sportacentrs, a Latvia based sports media house encompassing the international sports TV production arm PolarHD as well as Latvia’s biggest sports news website Sportacentrs.com and the free-to-air TV channel Sportacentrs.
July 11

No Alcohol (Advertising), No World Cup? – FIFA’s Influence On Alcohol Regulation
Although lobbying lawmakers is customary and justified to a certain extent, the undisguised clarity of interference of the FIFA is quite surprising – even more so given a nation’s policy on health protection measures is a sensitive matter. This conflict could only be prevented by making use of a double production that is already common in the broadcast of soccer matches or by virtual advertising. “Double production” means the technique that cameras are placed on each side of the pitch, while each nation’s TV audience only has the perspective of one pitch side.
July 16

The Role of the Media in the 2018 Elections in Slovenia
Dr. Miro Haček discusses the role of the media in the 2018 elections in Slovenia. Currently, Slovenians have very few media channels to inform them politically, and the ones they do have are extremely biased.
July 16

Croatia’s World Cup consolation: Google searches soar as world seeks information on finalists
Croatia may have lost to France in the World Cup final, but the small Eastern European nation may just have won something altogether more precious – worldwide recognition on a whole new level.
July 16

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to relaunch services in Bulgaria, Romania
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) plans to relaunch its news services in Bulgaria and Romania, starting from December 2018, aiming to strengthen the media landscape in both countries, the US-based media company said.
July 19
#romania #bulgaria

Russian lawmakers move to ban weapons & alcohol ads on children’s TV
The Lower House Committee for Information Policy has backed a motion banning advertisers from promoting alcohol, pharmaceuticals, gambling and weapons on kids’ radio and TV programs. The same bill also increases the time limit of ad blocks on TV shows from nine minutes to 12 minutes per hour of broadcasting. Commercial breaks in general on any given channel must not exceed 15 percent of the overall daily broadcasting time.
July 19

State Department scraps fund for Hungarian media
Last November the US State Department launched a 700,000 USD program to support media outlets operating outside the capital in Hungary to produce fact-based reporting and increase their audience and economic sustainability. Apparently, the program has been ended without winners.
July 22

The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition blocks two transactions
On 19 July 2018 the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (“BCPC”) refused to approve two separate concentrations – the acquisition of the vertically integrated business of CEZ Group of companies (owned by CEZ a.s., Czech Republic) by Inercom EAD (Bulgaria) and the acquisition of Nova Broadcasting Group AD by PPF TMT (the Netherlands). Both deals were subject to extensive discussions with political nuances. As a result of the decisions, the media in Bulgaria raised arguments that the rejection by the BCPC was not legally grounded but rather a result of political and/or public pressure.
July 23

Russian bookie Fonbet tops World Cup TV advertising chart
Local media outlet Sostav.ru reported this week that Russian-licensed bookmaker Fonbet was the top television advertiser during the World Cup, accounting for 18% of all advertising placements and 8% of overall ad minutes, outstripping even the tournament’s official sponsors Alfa Bank, Kia, Coca Cola and Adidas.
July 24

Media: Large media group sees higher profits in Romania in H1
Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the owner of the biggest local media company – PRO TV, recorded a 9.2% increase in revenues in Romania, in the first half of this year, to USD 95.6 million.
July 25

Bulgaria proposes wide-ranging gambling ad ban
The Bulgarian Government has submitted a draft law to the European Commission that would institute a ban on direct and indirect advertising of all gambling activities to its citizens.
July 26

CMI has completed the acquisition of Lagardère radios
Czech Media Invest (CMI) today completed the acquisition of the radio stations in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Romania owned by the French Lagardère Group. These acquisitions are in line with Czech Media Invest’s development strategy in the media segment. CMI thus acquires a new media library built on strong radio brands.
July 27
#czechia #poland #slovakia #romania

Croatia in third place in the world in terms of clicks in Facebook ads, Bosnians and Macedonians share eighth place
According to a survey into the state, development and forecasts of the global digital market in the third quarter of 2018, conducted by the Hootsuite We Are Social organization, the number of clicks on Facebook ads declined by 20 percent over the past three months.
July 30

Media Group Ukraine partners with Eutelsat to broadcast its Xtra TV television
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) has signed a multi-year, multi-transponder contract with Media Group Ukraine for broadcasting services on its EUTELSAT 9B satellite. Xtra TV is the only Ukrainian pay-TV platform to broadcast two TV channels dedicated to football, holding exclusive rights for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Premier League and Serie A.
July 31

Facebook confirms discovery of new ‘inauthentic’ social media campaign ahead of US midterm elections
Facebook announced today that it’s identified and banned suspicious accounts that engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” some of which may be designed to influence the US midterm elections scheduled for November. News of the impending announcement was first reported by The New York Times. It is unclear which organization or country is behind the campaign, although the Times reports that Facebook officials who briefed lawmakers this week said Russia may be involved. As for those behind the accounts and suspicious behavior, Facebook said in a call with reporters this afternoon that it did not have enough technical evidence to state who was behind the operation.
July 31

Lithuania: Russian app spying on users
The head of Lithuanian cyber security has said the popular Yandex taxi app is unlawfully collecting passengers’ data. Yandex has responded that the accusations are without merit.
July 31
#russia #lithuania

Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

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