Unlike in Macedonia, where national commercial terrestrial TV stations are exclusively “home” owned, the most influential commercial media in Croatia and Slovenia are in the hands of international media groups such as the Central European Media Enterprises (CME) and RTL, which enables them greater independence from political and business centres of power. Neither company being an owner of the most influential TV stations in Macedonia is registered to deal in the media business as their core line of business. As opposed to that, the TV channels owned by the CME and RTL groups in Croatia and Slovenia pay particular attention to the development of their media business on various platforms to keep pace with the latest technological trends and demands of audiences.
These are some of the conclusions resulting from the analysis of the Macedonian Institute for Media “Ownership and financial models of the most influential TV channels in Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia” presented at the conference “The future of national commercial TV channels: What is the formula to success?” which was held on June 23, 2017. The event, also hosted the presentation of the analysis “Programme diversity of the most influential TV channels in Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia“. The research was conducted between October 2016 and March 2017.
The event was opened by EU Ambassador Žbogar, who said that on relatively small media markets, the media business and regulators have specific challenges which “often open some room for influence”.
The new Minister of Communications, Accountability and Transparency, Robert Popovski, also spoke at the conference and said that the crucial issue for him is that there should be no influence over the media and the media industry.
Director of Kanal 5 TV, Ivan Mircevski, who is also the president of the Macedonian Media Association (MMA), spoke at the first discussion session about the ownership and financing models of the most influential commercial national TV channels. He pointed to the state and the institutions as being the culprits for the distorted TV market and the unstable financial situation of the TV channels for having enabled the decrease in the criteria for obtaining licenses for national and local TV channels.
Ivan Lovreček, deputy-president of the Management of RTL, Croatia, addressed the work of RTL TV by indicating that the investment from international media groups has enabled the transfer of modern know-how, trends and standards from the media practice of the developed countries. On the other hand, the financial independence and stability, which are enabled by the international media groups, make the medium more resilient to any influences over its editorial policy.
“Commercial TV channels will show integrity, firm standing and all that it takes for a so-called political independence at the moment when they have sufficient funds to survive on the market,” believes Milan F. Živković, former media policy adviser at the Ministry of Culture in Croatia. In his opinion, there is an ever more present trend of internet advertising at the expense of advertising in television.
As far as programme diversity is concerned of the most influential TV channels in the three countries, Atanas Kirovski, director and editor-in-chief of Telma TV, said that television not only has a commercial role, but also has a social responsibility when it comes to the programme it offers to the citizens.
Domestic production is something that no television can do without with audiences in Slovenia, as stated by Tomaž Perović, former news and sports director at POP TV and Planet TV. ” Last year there was practically no evening without a commercial television airing at least one show from the local production,” added Perović.
Lazo Petruševki, Council President of the Agency for audio and audio-visual media services, pointed that the protection and development of media pluralism are one of the core competences of the Agency. When it comes to media pluralism, Petruševki believes that there is enough room for further improvement of the media regulation, especially when it comes to the competences of the Agency Council.
This is the first conference within the project “#ReForMediaMKD – Citizens, CSOs institutions and Institutions Reforming Media in Macedonia”, implemented by MIM in cooperation with the Peace Institute from Ljubljana, Slovenia and funded by the European Union.
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The article is a contribution of Macedonian Institute for Media (MIM), a SEENPM member organization.