Posted by: euromediablog | January 22, 2010

Web-TV Overregulation in Italy

Just before Christmas, the Italian Government under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, issued a bill supposed to adapt the European AVMS Directive into Italian law. Shortly after, rigourous discussions followed. The reason for them was  the bill’s intention to oblige all internet streaming and IPTV services that update their contents daily, to apply for a license from Italy’s regulation Authority AGCOM (Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni).

Most experts criticise  the proposed measure for being too restrictive on online services and evaluate it as a form of pre-censorship. Moreover, they accuse Prime Minister Berlusconi of conflict of interests, since his Mediaset does not hide its appetite for the italian internet television market.

For further information: heise online

Posted by: euromediablog | January 15, 2010

Advertising Ban for German PSB?

Once again the advertising issue has penetrated the public service broadcasting discourse in Germany. After France and Spain successfully introduced measures to gradually reduce the advertising volume for their  public broadcasting corportations,  it was Germany’s turn to revive the discussion.

Both SPD and CDU media politicians agree on the fact that an advertising-free public service broadcasting will have a more distinctive profile and higher acceptance rates in the public. Cutting off the advertising revenues however, will have severe consequences for the PSB financing system: The television sector will lose €400m. annually, the radio one will be affected even harder.

So the main question remains – who is supposed pay for the shortcuts?

The German public service broadcasting system is financed primarily by licence fees. Every household possessing a device capable of receiving broadcasting signal (television set, radio, computer or cell phone) is thus obliged to pay a monthly fee of approximately 17 €. An advertising ban will so shift the whole financial weigth on the households, augmenting the fee up to the psychologically dangerous border or 20€ per month.

For the moment, very few politicians in the country  are willing to carry the political weight of such an unpopular decision.

So we have an interesting and somehow familiar situation: All politicians are in favour of the advertising ban but nobody is ready to apply it.

Much ado about nothing

For further Information: rheinischer merkur

Posted by: euromediablog | January 12, 2010

“Google Tax” in France

No country in the world is trying to regulate the Internet as vigourously as France. Even the censorship system in China (Great Wall) is starting to look pale in comparison to France’s efforts to apply state interventionism to the world wide web.

It was Sarkozy’s Government that first introduced innovative and harsch sanctions for internet piracy in Europe (Hadopi Law), by proposing to cut off the internet access of illegal file- sharers for more than an year. Now it is considering to tax the global online advertising industry, aiming directly at its flagship company- Google.

According to the report of the Zelnik commission, the digital revolution is  to blame for the miserable situation of the content producers in the country. Online advertising giants like Google, MSNand Yahoo on the other side earn significant revenues, while managing digital content and using it as a plattform for  advertising purposes. This imbalance is to be tackled by the new levy, that will charge  global advertising companies on the basis of the number of “french clicks” they have attracted.Thus, the rule would apply even if the operator has its offices outside France, as long as the Internet users who click on ad banners or sponsored links are located in the country.

The government is expecting up to €50m. per year, which would then directly benefit the national audiovisual, music and journalistic industry and in particular their successful  adaptation to the revolutionised market for digital content.

For further Information: Liberation.fr

Rapport Création & Internet

Posted by: euromediablog | January 10, 2010

Journalist Post Mortum: Bobi Tsankov

Sofia City – 05.01.2010 –  12:30

Bobi Tsankov is shot dead in an ambush in the centre of the Bulgarian capital.

The following days are signed by a collective  grievance in all Western media, mourning the next demonstrative murder of a journalist trying to fight crime. Here an example from Deutsche Welle:

“Bulgarian journalist shot dead in Sofia

A prominent Bulgarian radio presenter and author, Bobi Tsankov, was shot dead in the capital Sofia on Tuesday. His murder is believed to be connected with his investigations into organized crime in the country”

Of course the killing a young man (29)  on one of Sofia’s most central streets because of his uncomfortable statements is something terrible but please do not call him a journalist and do not call his publishing work investigative. We are speaking about a member of the organised crime in Bulgaria that was misusing the media publicity in order to persue particular business interests and NOT the public one.

In his short life, Bobi Tsankov was sued 12 times because of treachery- a fact pretty uncommon for a journalist fighting for the public cause.

And please do not get me wrong: It is not that he deserved his death – but he should not be glorified and or compared with classical cases like that of Politkovskaya.

R.I.P.

Posted by: euromediablog | December 8, 2009

Broadband Access in Europe

The recently published EU report on the broadband access in the member states provides a good overview on the state of the art of the developing information society in Europe. The Communications Committee observes an annual  growth of the broadband penetration rate by 2,3 % for all 27 member states, remarking a certain slow down in 2008/2009 because of the ubiquotous economic crisis.

While  Scandinavian and Benelux countries occupy the top places of the broadband penetration rate chart (30- 37%), most East European Countries rank backwards with newly joined Romania and Bulgaria taking the last 2 places with respectively  12,3% and 11,9%. A digital divide worth to think about, especially in the context of the Lisabon strategy.

Posted by: euromediablog | December 2, 2009

Online TV Viewing to be Included in Nielsen’s Ratings

Nielsen ist the biggest media research company in the world and as  such it is responsible for the audience ratings not only in the United States, but also in many other parts of the world including Europe.

The  audience panel is regarded as the core instrument of audience measurement. The american one for example consists of a represantative selection of 25000 american households whose television consumption is being measured daily with the help of the people-meter installed in their TV-Sets.

On the basis of this measurement method, the U.S. advertising industry has been able to adopt a universal currency for the measurement and verification of the television consumption. Until now, Nielsen’s ratings have been the undisputed currency of the audiovisual market on the basis of which  more than 70bn $ advertising revenues were distributed among the broadcasters. The company has been also able to expand beyond the borders of the United States and is now responsible for the measurement of more than 40 % of the world’s viewing behaviour.

The digital convergence, however. has been eroding the TV-set’s monopoly in the area of television consumption and  led to  significant changes in the viewing patterns for the last years , as the percentage of TV programmes viewed per Internet has grown rapidly in the last years. This development has gradually put Nielsens classical measurement method into question leaving the whole sector of internet viewing out of the television ratings system and endangering the rating’s representativity.

Now, Nielsen Media Research is about to act, as it is planning to introduce the measurement of internet TV viewing to its audience panels. Thus, the consumption of internet television will be calculated on the basis of the representative audience panel and added to the classical television consumption.

But will the 25 000 audience panel (in the US)  be big enough to detect all fluctuations on the audience market on- and offline? The drastic multiplication of audiovisual contents in the course of digitization has led to a progressive  fragmentation of the television viewing,  reducing  audience ratings in a constant pace.

In the times of mass media communication and communicators (until the year 2000) one could consider that the representativity of small ratings as statistically neglectable. In the times  of individualised communications and narrow casting this is not the case, as well targeted contents become more and more important for the advertising industry.

So , the questions this article has to pose is whether the classical audience panel is the right instrument for the measurement of audiovisual communication in the future? A communication that is about to experience further changes on the basis of fragmentation and individualisation.

For further information: new york times

Posted by: euromediablog | November 29, 2009

ZDF’s State Independence Under Political Siege

Last Friday turned out to be pretty sulky for the defenders of press freedom in Germany. At a first glance the problem does not seem that severe, especially in a european media landscape with “media tyrants” like Sarkozy and Berlusconi:

The working contract of Nikolaus Brender, chief editor of ZDF, was not prolonged after an open voting procedure in the executive council (Verwaltungsrat)  and he will be asked to leave the  broadcaster in 201o- a process  familiar to many former chief editors and as such relative unspectacular.

The Brendner case, however, happened to be one of the most discuted topics in Germany in the last months and was often interpreted as a political violation of press freedom. The culprit: Roland Koch, Governor (Ministerpräsident)  of Hessen and member of the ruling party CDU/CSU. In his view Brendner was not professional enough to manage ZDF’s news departement and was as such directly responsible for the rating loss in the last years. Media experts in the country described this accusation, however, as a mere disguise for Brendner’s political independence, which was perceived as inconvenient by the ruling party.

Although ZDF’s CEO (Intendant) Markus Schächter and the television council (Fernsehrat) of the broadcaster officially supported the extension of Brendner’s contract, it was the executive council that had the last word on it. And the voting did not produce any surprises- most members close to CDU/CSU followed the party’s imperative proposed by Koch and voted against.

Koch has won and Brendner has to go. His success, however was  perceived by most media as a constitutional crime. Now critics focus on the personalised aspect of the story by  condemning Koch’s  ruthless manouvre and the misuse of his political influence for personal revenge. But the main question is rather an institutional one: How come a broadcasting organ like the executive Council, composed primarily of governors and politicians,  decides on personal matters, using programme arguments? How qualified are its members to deal with such matters and how unbiased can these politicians be, when they have to take a decision on the leadership of a medium, directly responsible for their election results?

Why don’t they leave such controversial decisions to a more democratic and more competent organ like the television council?

Hopefully, Koch’s action will create some space in the public sphere for the discussion of such institutional changes, essential for a functionable media democracy.

Posted by: euromediablog | November 25, 2009

Vivendi’s Reinvestment Plan

French entertainment giant Vivendi was one of the most active players on the global media market recently. After it took control  of GVT , the Brazilian broadband operator, earlier this month, Vivendi has just increased its share in Canal+ from 65 to 75 per cent, paying TF1 (Bouygues) €744m for its 9,9% stake. Further 20 % might be acquired from Lagardère, France’s largest publishing group, next year as it recently admitted the possibility of selling its stake as well.

On the other hand, Vivendi is planning to sell its 20 % from NBC Universal to General Electric and thus put an end to its Nord American venture, which turned out to be an investment flop.

For further information: Financial Times

Posted by: euromediablog | November 23, 2009

Public Digitization in Bulgaria Goes Private

The European deadline for the analogue-digital switchover of television transmission was set to 2012- approximately 10 years ago. And while other countries  like Finland, Germany, UK are already close to competing one of the major objectives of the European Information Society, new EU member Bulgaria- has not really started yet.

The former socialist government 2005-2009, was planning a public-private partnerhip for the build up of the necessary digital infrastructure- an aspiration that never really produced any results. A motive good enough for the new neoliberal government under Prime Minister Boiko Borissov  to cancel the previous privatisation restrictions and to  call a tender open only to fully private bidders. This  reform would most likely benefit  Austrian digital infrastructure provider ORS, that is expected to take over the whole digital transmission in Bulgaria, controlling not only the transmission networks, but also the single multiplex channels.

As a result the public service broadcasters in Bulgaria BNT (Television) and BNR (Radio) will be obliged to pay an annual transmission fee to a private network operator. A fee, that would be substracted from the annual budget of the Broadcasters. Every single year. The saddest thing is- that this market solution is the only way to meet the deadline.

For further information: capital bg and medianetwork

Posted by: euromediablog | November 19, 2009

Dogan Media Holding: German Influence Grows

Axel Springer Verlag (Germany) has just increased its share in Dogan Media Holding from 9% to 29%. The German publishing house has to pay 160 Mio. € for the capital increase, a price that will enable Springer, to exert more influence in the long-term strategy of Dogan Media, as it be allowed to nominate 3 members for the Board of Governers and one for the Executive Committee of the Turkish holding.

Dogan Media Group is known to be the largest one in Turkey, operating national newspapers (Hürriyet, Milliyet),  television networks  (Kanal D, Star TV and CNN-Türk), digital plattforms, publishing houses and distribution companies. In the beginning of 2009, however, the holding had serious trouble with the government, being indirectly accused it of hiding taxes, receiving  a fine of 380 mio. €. Back then, most experts spoke about an open conflict between Dogan Media Holding and Prime Minister Erdogan, interpreting the fine as an instrument to put pressure upon the unconvenient media group.

Today, the deal between Dogan and Springer is still to be authorised by the liable media regulators and competition authorities- a formality that can easily turn into a major obstacle- as long as it suits the government.

Related articles: Media War in Turkey

For further information: meedia.de and ejc

Posted by: euromediablog | November 17, 2009

Most Europeans Ready to Pay for Online/Mobile News

Boston Consulting Group’s research results look pretty optimistic- more than half of the 5000 interviewed survey participants are willing to pay for online or mobile content. The percentage of  potential online news customers varies in the different countries, that took part in the survey:

1. Finnland: 66 %

2. Germany: 63 %

3. Italy 62 %

….

8. Great Britain 48 %

9. USA 48 %

Although the potential customers are willing to spend not more than an average of 4,5 $ per month ( 3 $ in the U.S. and 7$ in Italy), the survey results still boost some hopes on the successful introduction of online paid content  in Western Europe. At least in comparison to the sobering actual payment rates ( for the moment only 12% of the British readers pay for online content).

For further information: Boston Consulting Group, Guardian

Posted by: euromediablog | November 16, 2009

How Old is the New RTVE?

81 years.

At least, that is the age of the newly appointed RTVE president- Alberto Oliart, former defence Minister of Spain. His assignment resulted as a compromise between the Socialist and the Popular parties in the country, after Luis Fernandez, former president of the broadcaster,  resigned on Friday.

Oliart’s nomination has been intensively disputed since then. Two major arguments  do not speak in his favour:

1) In 2007 RTVE introduced a restructuring plan to reduce its workforce by nearly 4,000 by forcing all employees over 52 to take early retirement. On this background, the appointment of a 81 year old president somehow loses plausibility.

2) The second argument regards a  recent statement of his, claiming to know “nothing about television”- a pretty contestable starting point for a future president of RTVE. Especially, when he is expected to conduct one of the most controversial reforms in Spain’s media policy,  by withdrawing RTVE from the advertising market- a measure that would deprive the broadcaster of more than 500 million euro per year.

This reform that already induced the resignation of Fernandez. He was almost 30 years younger…

Related articles:

TVE without advertisements from Wednesday

For further information: elpais

Posted by: euromediablog | November 14, 2009

ORF Launches “TVthek” in Internet

Austrian public service broadcaster will be launching its online video platform TVthek on Monday. More than a third of its programme will thus be available on a  video on demand principle for a week after the television transmission.Soccer coverage, however, would be accessible for only 24 hours after- programs of historical and cultural significance, on the other side, can remain online, without any further restrictions.

ORF’s online platform will be completely free of advertising, in order to appease the rivals from the Austrian commercial sector.

For further information: diepresse

Posted by: euromediablog | November 13, 2009

Döpfner vs. Huffington: Old School Media vs. Free Content Suppliers

Quality Content in Internet:

Can it be provided for free and how qualitative will it actually be?

or

Is paid content the only solution for quality journalism in the net?

All these dilemmas have been tormenting the journalism sector, since the emergence of Internet as a mass medium.  Different schools have been interpreting them in their different ways. The current advertising crisis made the divide even acuter:   While the classical media has been primarily focusing on introducing pay walls,  web 2.0 prophets, particularly in the blogosphere,  continue to insist on the right of free (quality) information.

A personalised escalation of this paradigmatic conflict took place at Monaco Media Forum yesterday, as Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) and Mathias Döpfner (Springer, Germany) discussed sharply on the future of quality content online: Here the whole discussion panel:

Posted by: euromediablog | November 9, 2009

Murdoch Versus Google?

In a half an hour interview for SKY, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch spoke about the chances and dangers for paid content online. Unsurprisingly,  the media mogul described Google News as a threat to mass media  journalism and accused Google of “kleptomania”. Murdoch is even considering withdrawing his future paid content sites completely from the Google index, in order to restrict furhter theft of content.

Such a measure however could be pretty risky in a digital world where most experts agree on the thesis: “What Google does not find- does not exist”.

Here the whole interview:

Related articles: Murdoch’s Pay Walls Plans Will Have to Wait

For further information: guardian

Posted by: euromediablog | November 7, 2009

IPTV Market in Germany still promising

Many people regard the German TV Market (biggest one in Europe) as one of the most problematic ones on the continent. The reason is simple: there is simply too many free tv providers, a fact that  leads to a decrease in the audience’s willingness to pay for television services. It is not a coincidence that until now, the German pay tv provider (formerly Premiere- now SKY) still hasn’t managed to attract even half of the subscribers  pay tv providers in other countries (France, Great Britain) have. The introduction of new digital transmission modes like (IPTV) has also been hesitating, because of the reluctancy of the German TV consumer to abandon his cable free tv viewing mode.

But according to the data of the latest DELPHI research (EICT, TNS, Deutsche Telekom) the perspectives of the IPTV Market in the country are to be more promising than expected. More than 550 experts were questioned on the future of IPTV in Germany and almost 70 % expect, that IPTV will have conquered the audiovisual market until 2014.

BITKOM’s (Germany’s telecommunications business association) numbers also point in the same direction, as they predict a total market of 1.8 billion subscribers for 2010. This prediction would mean a total growth of 50 % in comparison to 2009- a pretty significant boost for the “free tv cable-country”.

What’s worrying about the data of the survey however, is the fact that one of its major sponsors is the German Telecom- the company with the largest investments in  the new market. In such cases it is always difficult to differentiate between objective predictions and wishes.

For further information: handelsblatt

Posted by: euromediablog | November 5, 2009

Murdoch’s Pay Walls Plans Will Have to Wait.

Half an year ago the worlds most popular media mogule- Rupert Murdoch (News Corp.) announced  his withdrawal from free content, by introducing pay walls for his online editions by the end of News Corp’s financial year (June 2010).

Last night he admitted that his plans might not make the deadline but refused to explain why. A fact that leaves free space for speculations.

Media analysts like Jeff Jarvis attribute this delay to Murdoch’s fear of being left stranded by the other media companies. Until now Guardian has clearly refused to join  Murdoch’s plans and charge for content.If more publishing house follow that example,  the only effect of Murdoch’s papers charging online would be to clear the path for competitors.

For further information:

Editors Weblog

Guardian

Posted by: euromediablog | November 4, 2009

“Hadopi” Law to be Adopted in the UK

Securing and  protecting copyrights in our digital environment has turned into  one of the main objectives  of the European information society governors. The biggest question was HOW. In a landscape, where file sharing is regarded as a normal practice by most digital natives,  it seemed a bit unproportional to put a teenager into jail just because he downloaded the latest Lilly Allen single without paying for it.

It was French Prime Minister Nikolas Sarkozy,  who came up with a proposal to simply deprive the digital “wrongdoers” of the attribute they all take for granted: their internet connection. For this purpose, a special agency “Hadopi” was created in France, in order to disconnect illegal file sharers without a judicial decision.

Until now the adoption of this law on an European scale was legally problematic. The reason for that were the paneuropean aspirations to include internet connecitivity to the basic human rights of which no human being can be deprived of (or at least not without a court ruling).  A special Ammendment to EUs Telecom package was drafted for this purpose. A week ago however, the European Parliament dropped the amendment,  which would have made it hard for countries to cut off pirates without court authority.

So it was left to the single member states to decide whtether they can deprive illegal file sharers of their internet connection with or without a court ruling.  And now Great Britain is preparing to follow France’s example, as Peter Mandelson, UK’s business Minister and  former EU trade commissioner, intends to adopt the  British version of the Hadopi bill  by April next year. Unlike France however, the British government will not establish a separate internet police authority like HADOPI, bu plans on delegating this competence to allround media watchdog Ofcom.

British civil rights groups are already protesting against the implementation of the harsh measure.

For further information: EUobserver

Posted by: euromediablog | November 2, 2009

ProSiebenSat1 to focus on Pay-TV

More than 30% of the future revenues of the second biggest television company in Germany are supposed to be derived out of pay-tv services by 2014. For the moment, they constitute only 15 % of the general income, with the lion share, derived out of the advertising market.  ProSiebenSat1’s new strategy  is to be regarded as a direct response to the diminishing advertising income and a reorientation towards the audience market.

For further information: meedia.de

Posted by: euromediablog | November 1, 2009

Digital Europe Grows: Part III

The digitization of the European television market advances with a remarkable pace. According to the latest data from e-Media Institute, more than 14 % of all European households have already switched to a digital reception mode since 2008 .

Most of them have been upgrading to digital terrestrial television (DTT), but the introduction of IPTV services has been also enjoying growing popularity across the continent. IPTV operations have turned into success stories into Central and Eastern Europe, with Croatian, Hungarian, Chech and Slovakian Telecoms almost doubling the number of IPTV subsribers.

The significant contribution of public service broadcasters to the digital growth in Europe has also been particularly stressed upon. According to the e-Media analysis, most free to air digital services on the leading European TV markets (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain)  are offered by public service broadcasters: a total amount of 45 channels.

Italian broadcaster RAI leads the chart by offering 13 digital channels, followed by ARD/ZDF (Germany) with 11 and BBC (UK) with 10.

The biggest digital TV-growth in the last year was marked by Portugal, with massive 48 % in comparison to 2008. Belgium and Greece are second and third on the list with respectively 40 and 38 % growth:

top 10 countries

According to the digital switch-over plan of the European Commission, all EU countries are expected to abandon analogue services by the end of 2012. If they stick to that pace, this task will be more than possible.

Related articles:

Digital Europe Grows

Digital Europe Grows: Part II

For further information: e-Media Institute

Posted by: euromediablog | October 29, 2009

Censorship? Never Heard of It!

Kosovo’s government has vehemently denied  EBU’s monday’s reproach, which criticized the political pressure being put upon local public service broadcaster RTK. Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci even invited EBU represantatives to monitor RTK news coverage before the coming elections and refused to admit any forms of political censorship in the broadcaster.

A certain suspicion of hidden censorship in the new country  however remains: the biggest problem, is that it is pretty difficult to prove. Journalistic autonomy can  easily be abandoned for the sake of a better salary or a higher position. And this unspoken relationship between  politicians in power and obedient journalists is namely the core problem of hidden censorship. Unfortunately, it is also a secret most peope know, but nobody’s willing to confess. Why should Kosovo’s deputy prime minister make an exception?

Related articles: Kosovo’s Public Television Loses Autonomy

For further information: SETimes

Posted by: euromediablog | October 28, 2009

Disconnecting Internet Pirates in Europe

The European Parliament has just  dropped an amendment to its Telcoms Package which would have made it hard for countries to cut off pirates without court authority. This step was a result of the political pressure, some European countries have been  imposing upon Brussels, in order to be able to apply harsher and more effective penal laws against illegal file sharing.

The most emblematic case has been that of France, where a special agency was founded (HADOPI) with the purpose of combatting internet piracy.The main aim of the HADOPI law was to disconnect illegal file sharers up to a year without the necessity of a long lasting trial. The inclusion of internet access as a universal human right in EU Telecommunications policy turned out to be one of the major obstacles for this approach.

With the ammendment being dropped, the discussion, whether the deprivation of internet access should be judicially accounted fo, will be relocated on national level. A process that already produces pretty controversial perspectives on the matter. Just take a look at France, Great Britain and Finland.

Related articles:

Broadband Access: a Legal Right in Finnland

Hadopi Law in France- Legally Problematic

Welcome Hadopi!

For further information: bbcnews

Posted by: euromediablog | October 26, 2009

Kosovo’s Public Television Loses Autonomy

RTK is supposed to be the independent public service broadcaster in Kosovo. It has been on air since 1999 and has benefited massively from European financial aid since then.  Unfortunately, the concept of an independent broadcasting is gradually losing ground, as Kosovo’s government seems to be misusing the broadcaster for own mass information purposes.

In an open letter to Hashim Tachi, Prime Minister of Kosovo, the European Broadcasting Union denounced the negative development in the young state:

“Pressure from your government transformed RTK from being a balanced supplier of news into a media arm of the ruling party and of yourself as prime minister. Critical or alternative voices have been suppressed” added Jean Reveillon, Secretary General of the EBU.

The EBU reproach refers primarily  to the newly issued Reporters Without Borders report on press freedom, which  downgrades Kosovo  from 58th to 75th place in less than an year. RTK’s contribution for the fall is obvious:  the broadcaster was to obtain a critical  role in the process of developing a stable and independent democracy in the new country- a process that is recently endangered by strong political and economical interests, governing RTK.

EBU requires urgent measures to restore the autonomy of the broadcaster. After all, autonomy and autonomy only,  is what distinguishes a public broadcsters from a state one.

For further information: balkaninsight

Related Articles: Eroding Press Freedom in Europe

Posted by: euromediablog | October 25, 2009

Eroding Press Freedom in Europe

The long awaited press freedom report of Reporters Without Borders was released this week. And the results are anything but flattering to the European countries. While north european states like Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Estonia and Norway still remain on top of the chart, southern and eastern countries like Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and Slovakia were radically downgraded.

While Berlusconi’s war with critical media  relegated Italy to 49th position, France lost eight points primarily because of judicial investigations, arrests of journalists, raids on media and meddling by prominent politicians, including President Nicolas Sarkozy.

37 places down: The biggest fall  was registered in Slovakia and is ascribed to  the adoption of a law imposing an automatic right of (governmental) response in the press.

The ranking is based on questionnaires with 40 criteria, including violence against journalists, imprisonment, physical attacks, censorship, confiscation of newspaper print runs, searches and harassment. The index also takes into account the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for press freedom violations.

With Europe gradually loosing its status as a role model for press freedom, may be it is time to consider adopting EFFECTIVE measures for safeguarding press freedom on European scale. A newly drafted European Charter on Freedom of the Press has already been  signed in 28 states. Let’s hope that it harvests more practical results than similar diplomatic agreements usually do.

Related Articles:

European Charter on Freedom of the Press

For further information: EUobserver

Posted by: euromediablog | October 24, 2009

Russia Online

Directing the information flow on the internet is the new aspiration of the Russian state. The government has most of russian television channels and newspapers in its power and is now aiming at penentrating social networks. as well.  Thus it should be finally be able to redirect the public opinion of the digital natives in the country.

For this purpose the ministry of Press and Communications is offering up to 5 million rubles (almost $166,000) to the company that could provide “effective mechanisms of promoting the interests of the federal bodies of the executive branch of power on specialized social networking sites.”

But is a software programme enough to penetrate the public discourse on critical topics? Manpower is definetely needed and the Russian authorities expect to find it in the beurocratic apparatus, engaging state clerks as virtual opinion leaders. An interesting aspiration, aiming to transform virtual discussion forums into plattforms for state announcements.

Another proof that technology alone, does not boost democracy- it’s all about what people make of it.

For further information: moscowtimes

Posted by: euromediablog | October 20, 2009

Latvia’s “Diena” in Editorial Crisis

One of the most popular and qualitative newspaper in Latvia – Diena-  is facing serious troubles lately. Most of its leading journalists and editors are leaving the paper, primarily because of intensive cost cuts and job uncertainty. The majority of them is already considering launching an alternative internet version.

Earlier this summer, Swedish media company Bonnier sold “Diena Mediji” to the British family Rowland (Blackfish), leaving the paper with a net loss of 2,7 million euros for 2009, primarily due to the Europe wide advertising crisis.  Everything the new British proprietors had to offer against  the current losses were massive cost cuts- reducing salaries with more than 40 %. This measure turned out to be pretty unpopular among the leading journalists, who systematically cancelled their contracts,  depriving “Diena” of  the better part of its  journalistic credibility.

The sad part of the story is that up to now Diena was regarded as a positive exception in the Latvian media landscape, full of corruption and revolver journalism. Direct, impartial and serious – all brandmarks of the quality paper. Their loss will affect the whole media system in the baltic country. Badly.

Related articles: Latvian PSB- off the air?

For further information: Frankfurter Rundschau

Posted by: euromediablog | October 19, 2009

Wiretapping Journalists in Poland

A serious blow to the anti corruption aspirations of the newly reformed government of Polish President Tusk took place on Saturday,  as a complicated  wiretapping operation, involving intelligence agents and journalists became public. It turned out that Polish intelligence has been bugging the journalists for more than 2 years already, recording not only their professional but also private conversations.

Such a disclosure will definetely have a  negative impact on the polish journalism as a whole, with the confidential relation between journalists and informants being massively obstructed. Because of the wiretapping danger, many informants will from now on only reluctantly, if at all,  confide secret information to the journalists.

Donald Tusk has just fired the Head of the Anti-Corruption-Agency signalling a strong will to fight against misuse of power and support for an independent journalism system. The image of his government, however, will need a lot more than that to recover.

For further information: nzz

Posted by: euromediablog | October 15, 2009

Broadband Access: a Legal Right in Finnland

One of the most connected countries in the world (96%) is writing history. Finland is to become the first nation to officially recognize the right of broadband internet access as a legal one, as  the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications in Helsinki just pushed through a law that will force telecommunications providers to offer high speed internet connections to all citizens.

Practically speaking, the law will oblige internet providers to connect distant rural areas, left out because of their economical unattractiveness. Similarly to the measures suggested by the Digital Britain Report in the United Kingdom the finish law tries to combat the digital divide and boost the online economy at the same time. Information Society in Practice…

Related Articles:

Digital Britain Report Against Internet Piracy

For further Information: guardian

Posted by: euromediablog | October 14, 2009

Three Million Swedes Share Files Illegaly

In a country with a population of less than 10 million such figures are regarded as more than disturbing. This is the conclusion of the latest survey of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), in which Swedish citizens were only asked about their file sharing habits regarding music. Other sensible areas like movies, books, computer games and ebook have been completely left out- their inclusion could make the number of illegal file-sharers in the Scandinavian country even larger.

Compared to  previous studies on that subject the IFPI’s figures are to be regarded as a bitter surprise, with the percent of illegal file sharing never been estimated so high. Of course, it should be noted that the study was conducted via Internet and not via telephone lines,  concentrating primarily on the digital natives in the country. But even so, the fact than more than a third of the internet users in a country shares and downloads copyrighted material without paying, makes the definition of this practice as illegal very  problematic.

Posted by: euromediablog | October 12, 2009

European TV News Market Under Threat?

The development of the European TV news sector in the last five years can be obviously defined as a boost.Today there are 162 national and international news channels available to viewers around Europe that generate a total revenue of about 1,5 billion euros.  According to Andrè Lange, head of markets and financing at the European Audiovisual Observatory, this expansion is due to  the growth of multi-channel platforms (satellite, cable, ADSL and television for mobile telephones etc.) around the continent.

The future of this market, however, turns out to be pretty uncertain. A general reorientation of the audience towards Internet as a primary news source redirects  advertising revenues out of broadcasting news market into the net. “In certain countries such as Germany and Denmark, advertising on the Internet is starting to overtake TV advertising even if television audiences remain much higher than Internet audiences,” argues Lange and expects a fierce competition among broadcasters and publishers for the distribution of  growing advertising revenues on the fledging digital news market.

Although mobile applications, that can adapt the distribution of news coverage on the fast growing cell phone market,  are anticipated with hope by the news industry many  news broadcasters, especially  the independent ones, are expected to go bust in the coming years.

For further information: medianetwork

Posted by: euromediablog | October 8, 2009

Kindle to Officially Enter the German Market

And is there any better place to introduce Amazon’s  digital reading device than on the book fair in Frankfurt? From today on, Kindle will be officcially available on the German market, generating revenue hopes not only for Amazon but also for the publishing industry as a whole.

The lack of german books and publications tailored specially for the 2GB digital reader, however,  could easily turn into a major obstacle for Kindle’s future market success. Up to now most Germans are not familiar with the device (less than 50 %) and the impossibility to read in their mother tongue will not exactly boost Kindle’s popularity.

Future users will thus have to settle for  e-books in English. At least for the coming months. After that, the publishing industry in the country is  expected to soon provide enough German content, to satisfy the demand of the emerging market. Accross the whole publishing industry Kindle is regarder as one of the most perspective developments in the field of digital publishing.

For further information: manager magazin

Related articles:

Amazon’s Kindle to rescue newspaper industry?

Spanish Newspapers Indroduce Amazon’s Kindle

Posted by: euromediablog | October 7, 2009

London Evening Standard for free.

The London Evening Standard is one of the oldest newspapers in Great Britain, publishing since 1827. On 12.10.2009 it is about to become the first quality newspaper to be turned into a free-sheet. In these turbulent times, when many media publishers like Figaro and Murdoch,  have been intensively  working on business models to charge for their online contents, the newspaper proprietor Lebedev has just announced  that from October 12 it will become  the first quality newspaper in the world to cease charging readers for its print edition.

A reform like that seems pretty brave for a newspaper with more than 150 years of publishing tradition. Most experts refer this measure,however,to the pluralisation of free news sources available to the readers, which automatically reduce  their willingness to pay for a special afternoon edition. The new funding model will boost the circulation from 250 to 600 thousand copies daily and thus try to attract some stable advertising, in order to compensate the revenue losses.

Newspaper owner Lebedev claims that this reform will neither lead to a loss of quality nor to any significant job cuts. However, it is still somehow difficult to believe him.

For further information: pressgazzette

Related Articles:

Le Figaro Introduces Paid Content Online. Any Volunteers to Pay?

Digital Publishers in the U.K to Charge for Content

Posted by: euromediablog | October 6, 2009

World Cup Qualifier Exclusively on Internet

According to the rulings of the TWF Directive from 1997 events of general public significance are to be broadcasted free for the public. The member states were then allowed to publish lists with such events that were supposed to be accessible to the general public. Most countries included olympic games and world cup football games with national participation.

The transmission of this week’s world cup qualifier between the teams of England and Ukraine, however, will be restricted to a limited amount of internet users willing to pay a pay per view fee between 5 and 12 pounds. With none of the major free to air broadcasters in the country showing  any significant interest in broadcasting the game, the qualifier will be transmitted exclusively in Internet: for the first time ever. So far so good- but  here we refer back to the list of events of  general public significance: How come is a world cup qualifier not on this list? After all, this is a game of the national team of a country, known as the birthplace of football.

For further information: medianetwork

Posted by: euromediablog | October 5, 2009

Press Freedom Demonstration in Rome against Berlusconi

Complaining about the lack of press freedom in Italy has gradually developed into a leisure activity for many of its citizens. On Saturday this tendency took  particular form as thousands of people gathered together in the centre of Rome. They protested against the disturbing concentration procedures in the Italian media landscape and their reflection on the the political arena of the mediterranean country, all of which can be named by a common denominator: the local hero and villain Silvio Berlusconi.

According to the organisers, 300 000 citizens attended the Anti-Berlusconi demonstration, according to the police – 60 000. Whatever the number- this act is expected to put Italy’s prime minister under pressure and question the democratic legitimacy of his regime. Recently, Freedom House  downgraded Italy to the “partly free” category in its annual survey this year and placed it 73rd out of 195 counties. Media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders went even further by  categorizing the press in Italy is the least free in the European Union.

For further information: reppublica.it

Posted by: euromediablog | October 4, 2009

Multilingual Broadcasting in Turkey on the way

On the basis of a petition signed by a group of private broadcasters, the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) is considering a general permission for private media companies to broadcast in local dialects.Following the decision to launch TRT 6, a state-owned channel that broadcasts in Kurdish 24 hours a day, together with the introduction of an Armenian broadcasting service,  the government is now planning on granting private stations the right to broadcast in other languages as well.

An eventual positive decision on the matter, however, will  not be of universal character, since most multilingual permissions have to be accompanied by demographic surveys researching the audience composition in the relevant area. Pretty interesting is the case with languages like Armenian and Kurdish, because of their political relevance. In the case of the request for Armenian broadcasting- a precedent in turkish broadcasting regulation- the final decision was even  left over to the government itself.

Generally, the new orientation of the Turkish broadcasting regulation is to be regarded as a step towards a more democratic media system and  more tolerance towards minorities. All prerequisites for an eventual future membership in the European Union.

For further information: todayzaman


Posted by: euromediablog | October 2, 2009

CBS enters in the British Audiovisual Market

This is about to happen after the US network giant’s recent deal with Chellomedia (UK). The results of the successful negotiations are already on the way-  CBS Reality, CBS Drama and CBS Action- three thematic channels  sourced from CBS’s 70,000-hour library with original material including series like Star Trek, Dynasty and Dr. Phil.

This joint venture is the first one of its kind as we witness an American broadcasting cooperation expanding in Europe by the introduction of own channels. As such it could turn into a fruitful example of broadcasting globalization.

For further information: broadcastnow.co. uk

Posted by: euromediablog | October 1, 2009

Digital Publishers in the U.K to Charge for Content

Charging for online content turns out to be the dominant business modell in the Britisch digital publishing industry.  This is the major conclusion of this year’s AOP survey (Association of Online Publishers), according to which more than 70% of the digital publishers in Great Britain are inclined to introduce content charging for their online services. In comparison to 2007, the number of the charging-volunteers grows by 24% which is primarily referred to the “concussion” of the advertising industry in the times of crisis.

According to  their business strategies most of the interviewed enterpreneurs (33%) will be focusing on models of micropayment by charging for separate articles instead of  whole subscriptions.

Mobile applications are undisputably  seen by all as the biggest hope for the future.One of the main reasons for that is the difference between internet and cell phone consumer culture. While internet services are primarily expected to be for free, the mobile ones have always been charged for- this would automatically increase the willingness to pay of the future content users using mobile applications.

For further information:   guardian.co.uk

Related articles:

“Copy/Payste”- Funding Model for Independent

Le Figaro Introduces Paid Content Online. Any Volunteers to Pay?

Posted by: euromediablog | August 19, 2009

VoxNews in Romania

Voxnews will become the third national TV Channel in Romania  after receiving a broadcasting license from the National Audiovisual Council. It will be launched  by year’s end and will focus primarily on news and social reports. The broadcaster  is fully owned by Sport Channel and is expected to generate more than a million euros advertising revenues annually.

Will this be possible with information and education content in the time of advertising crisis?

Time will tell…

Related Articles: Government vs. Media in Romania

For further information: wall street journal

Posted by: euromediablog | August 18, 2009

Hard Reforms for PSB Funding in Estonia

Public Service Funding has become a political scapegoat in the times of financial crisis. This development is pretty actual in Estonia  with just a month ahead of  the municipal elections.

The baltic state has a pretty innovative funding modell: ETV, the national public service broadcaster is completely free of advertising, the revenues of which have been left completely to the commercial broadcasters (Kanal 2 and TV3) in the country. In exchange they are annually  obliged to pay a licence fee of about 2 million euro- that should compensate ETV’s losses.

The ruling coalitition, however, is  planning to cancel the license fees, in favour of the commercial broadcasters, and thus drastically reduce the annual budget of the public service broadcaster. This measure is supposed to benefit primarily  Kanal 2 and TV3,  which  areEstonia’s most influential opinion makers.

It is somehow difficult to hope that the new proposal has nothing to do with the coming elections.

For further Information: medianetwork

Posted by: euromediablog | August 17, 2009

Don’t Speak! Medical Advertising Ban vs. Free Speech

Advertising  drugs, whose import is nationally prohibited,  is generally not allowed in Europe (§ 86 EU Directive 2001/83/EC). But how is advertising to be defined?

This question  won on relevance after  Frede Damgaard,a Danish journalist, published information on his website about Hyben Total in 2003, a medicine product deprived of  marketing authorisation in Denmark.

According to Danish prosecutors  his positive description of the medicament contravened Directive 2001/83/EC, although it could not be described as classical advertising. Mr. Damgaard appealed, by claiming that he was not doing advertising but  medical journalism. For him the action of the danish authorities constituted thus a severe injury of the freedom of expression.

Soon the case was forwarded to the European Court of Justice, which published its sentence last week. ECoJ’s ruling claims that Article 86 “is to be interpreted as meaning that dissemination by a third party of information about a medicinal product…may be regarded as advertising within the meaning of that article, even though the third party in question is acting on his own initiative and completely independently…of the manufacturer and the seller of such a medicinal product.”

Some critics look at this sentence as a disastrous way of imposing national censorship on medical journalism. And to some extent they’re right- why should medical journalists not be allowed to report on nationally banned drugs? After all banning opinions on prohibited drugs might be a serious blow to the EU Protections to the  freedom  of expression

May be, instead  of banning all kinds of opinions on particular product, one should think of a better way to distinguish independent journalism from mere marketing strategies. The question is how?

For further information:EATG and AdAge

Posted by: euromediablog | August 13, 2009

Rise & Fall

The German publishing house „Axel Springer“ owns the leading daily newspaper (circulation of about half a million) on the Polish yellow press market – „Fakt“. As a matter of fact and furthermore, in 2007 the company  introduced to the Polish quality newspaper market a flagship called “Dziennik”.

Winning a battle,…
Dziennik used the presidential election at the time to position itself between the main players on the market – “Gazeta Wyborcza” and “Rzeczpospolita”. After developing an image of neutral reporting it successfully managed to win tens of thousands of the competitors’ readers for itself.

…losing the war.
The flying start for Dziennik with circulation of 260.000 turned into agony in 2008 shrinking to 158.000, before it hit the bottom in February 2009 reaching a year-to-year fall of 44 per cent to 88.000.

The failure might have been caused by a weaker identity than the competitors – Rzeczpospolita being respected for business reporting and Gazeta Wyborcza having nationwide network providing local news reporting.

The Polish department of Axel Springer had to act. In spring 2009 it decided to merge Dziennik with another newspaper called Gazeta Prawna (49% ownership). The latter is specialised in business and law news and should strengthen and save Dziennik’s potential.

For further information: Süddeutsche Zeitung (11.08.2009)

Posted by: euromediablog | August 12, 2009

Economist Direct- Waiting for Issues

“Single Copy Subscription” should be the new revoulutionary word for publishers in crisis. That’s at least  what Isaac Showman, marketing manager at Economist, dreams of. His dream develops into plan and there you have it:

Economist direct- online subscription for single print issues of the quality magazine. Readers will thus have the possiblity to order the print issue per short text messager or online, via Facebook and Twitter for example, and receive it per post  the day after. That’s all- no subscription contracts, no irrelevant issues, no further complications.

But how appropriate is such a waiting period for twitter users for example? A whole day of waiting can turn into eternity for internet users, used to simultaneous content acquisition. Some people argue that in the days of simultaneous actuality there aint no time to wait for issues. Let’s hope they’re wrong.

Related articles: “Copy/Payste”- Funding Model for Independent

For further Information: meedia.de and guardian.co.uk

Posted by: euromediablog | August 12, 2009

“Copy/Payste”- Funding Model for Independent

independent_paid_content The financial crisis in the advertising sector turns out to be a pretty productive context for new business models in the newspaper sector. After realising that advertising alone can not provide enough revenues for the production of quality content online,  many publishers started implementing new ideas for funding print/internet journalism: Rupert Murdoch already  announced a withdrawal from the advertising-financed free content provision, Figaro introduced a pay per article business model.

British Newspaper Independent, on the other side,  developed a pretty peculiar way of refunding quality content. Users who would like to print its articles, may do so but  only up to the limit of five copies. Every further copy should be respectively paid for.

Thus, professors who would like to print out articles for their students or managers who would like to keep their staff up to date will  have to pay about one pound per article printed. The price per copy varies depending on the sheer number of copies printed.

Of course, if one does not want to pay for the copies he/she can always find a technological way round the limitation. But that’s not Independent’s point- it is more about raising the users’ awareness that quality content is something one normally pays for. Normally…

Related articles:

Le Figaro Introduces Paid Content Online. Any Volunteers to Pay?

Editing Your Own Newspaper in Switzerland

Going Online is not Always the Way Out for Newspapers

For further information: Frankfurter Rundschau, Meedia.de

Posted by: euromediablog | August 11, 2009

Was Ataturk Really a Gay? Turkey vs. YouTube.

Such type of questions are legally prohibited in  modernTurkey. According to the Ataturk Law from 1951 every insult against the “Father of all Turkish people” is to be banned with up to five years imprisonment for its author. Up to now many authors were charged not only for slandering Ataturk but also for defaming Turkishness as a whole. Such has been  the case with Turkey’s most famous contemporary author Orhan Pamuk.

In the times of nationally operated mass media and publishing sector, safeguarding Turkishness (by censoring and sanctioning anti-turkishness) was not an easy task. In the times of globally uncentralised Internet- it becomes almost impossible. But the Turkish conservative government is least giving it a try.

An anti-Ataturk video on YouTube, that recently portrayed the Turkish Father as gay, is the best example for that. According to the Turkish authorities, the video was a product of Greek  instigation in the context of the ongoing conflict between the two states. The reaction was immediate- on the basis of the Ataturk law (1951) and the Internet Regulation law (2007)  a state court decided to BAN THE WHOLE ACCESS TO YOUTUBE in Turkey. All major internet providers in the country were thus constrained to block  their users from visiting the most popular user generated videosite in the world.

Technically speaking, it is of course  impossible to completely block all users out of YouTube. Implementing proxy servers has turned into common internet know-how for all turkish users, entering YouTube from “censoreship-free” European or American servers – a daily activity. Thus, the censorship-measure of the Turkish government is more spectacular than efficient.

This regulation spectacle, however, turned out to have a significant practical effect on Youtube, as Google’s  user-generated broadcasting service  removed immediately the controversial video from its plattform and wrote an official excuse to the Turkish authorities.

In the end, the ban-free access to the  advertising market of the 71 million country seems to be more important for  YouTube than safeguarding principles like freedom of expression.

In a commercial perspective, this decision makes somehow sense. The cost-benefit ratio for promoting democracy is not amongst the most profitable ones.

At least in our contemporary world.

Related Articles:

Media War in Turkey

No More Music Videos on YouTube

For further information:

Today’s Zaman ; The New York Times Blog; Times Online

Posted by: euromediablog | August 10, 2009

Digital Europe Grows Part II

The development of the European information society is accelerating with a significant pace. Not only the broadband access to internet, but also the digital reception of television in European households provide optimistic figures.

According to the data of the E-Media Institute the number of western European digital TV households has grown by more than 49% in the last two years  to more than 108 million—almost 64% of total TV households. The fastest growing digital TV platform was IPTV, which was up over 170% since March 2007, followed by DTT, growing by almost 76%.

As a matter of fact, the development of IPTV depends directly on the growth of the broadband internet access, since the IPTV-Offer is a part of the Triple Play business models of almost all European Telecoms…

Soon, television will have a completely different profile.. new providers, new business models, new recepients- we will just have to figure out a new name..

Related articles: Digital Europe Grows

For further information: e-media institute

Posted by: euromediablog | August 5, 2009

Le Figaro Introduces Paid Content Online. Any Volunteers to Pay?

According to Editors Weblog the newly produced content will be launched in the early 2010. It shall not interfere with the freely available content on the website, since it will be extra produced by  journalists, hired especially for that purpose.

After Luc de Barochez, chief editor of Lefigaro.fr., the new content will thus contribute to the thematic development of France’s most popular information site. It has not been decided yet, how to charge for the new service- on the basis of a subsciption or after the “pay per article” model.

This idea is not new but it remains a pretty risky business model in the times of the information economy. First of all, the copyrights of all information products in the digital world are still pretty shaky and thus difficult to protect. Secondly, the willingness to pay online of internet users is not as high as expected. According to the latest EU report on the topic, only one third of the 16-24 year olds are prepared to pay for content online. This group is pretty important because it constitutes more than 60 % of all internet users.

We ll be looking forward to the development of Figaro’s project, but we can be sure that changing consumer habits  might result tougher than it seems.

For further Information: Editors Weblog- here and here

Posted by: euromediablog | August 5, 2009

Digital Europe Grows..

According to the results of the current report of the European Commission the broadband service penetration and the usage of internet services has grown with more than one third since the last report from 2004.   Today more than 70 % of all Europeans use the internet regularly (at least once a week),  while the European market has turned into the largest market in the world for fixed broadband access with ca.114 million subscribers.

According to the European Commission  this rapid development grounds on the pro-competition policy supported by Brussels. Due to the supraeuropean measures safeguarding fair competition and pricing, the broadband services have become more accessible for all EU citizens. 

The digital development, however, does not seem to to follow the same pace in all areas. A “digital divide” exists not only between the internet penetration in northern and southern Europe, but also between the different layers of society. On the one hand we can speak of “digital natives”- the most active and creative internet users, primarily good educated and wealthy youngsters, on the other of “digital aliens”- mostly elderly persons, but also people with lower level of education and income, who still do not make use of the benefits of the net. 

Will the pan-european competition doctrine be able to smooth out this sociogeographical differences? Or will we have to adopt a more social approach in the formation of the European Information Society? 

For further information: EU Observer 

Posted by: euromediablog | August 4, 2009

“I don’t need sex- the government fucks me every day…”

T-ShirtThese bittercynical lines were printed on the t-shirt of Ivan Crvin, a Croatian cameramen, with which he went to a press- conference of….his government. The newly appointed Croatian Prime Minister -Jadranka Kosor noticed the message and interpreted it pretty personally by defining it  “outrageous”.

So far so good: different people- different tastes.

But the consequence of this misunderstanding is pretty perplexing: RTL Croatia,which his production company was working for, cancelled  immediately  the contract with Crvin’s production company. One of most reasonable explanations could be RTL’s fear of entering into conflict with the local government.

Just because of a lousy t-shirt…

For further information: FAZ (04.08.2009)

Posted by: euromediablog | July 30, 2009

Olympic Games for Sale

This could be a new milestone in the history of olympic broadcasting: On this tuesday IOC rejected EBU’s bid for the transmission rights of the olympic games in 2014 and 2016.This comes as some surprise because since 1956 common european rigths-contracts between IOC and EBU seemed to be the rule. Why?

The European Broadcasting Union represents 75 national broadcasters in and around Europe in the negotiations with the IOC and could as such enjoy stronger influence on the price for the olympic games. It was often accused of cartel practices by the Competition Directorate of the  European Commission, but still it always managed to defend the common interests of the European free-to-air broadcasters on the tough sports rights market.

IOC on the other side preferred to handle with EBU because the union could guarantee the  largest possible audience for the olympic games and complete coverage of the sport events between the olypmic cycles, inclusive paraolympics. As long as olympic games were regarded as a global event of enormous social and political importance- this was also the most reasonable decision.

After tuesday’s rejection this status quo seems to be in danger. Sports rights have gradually turned into a precious globally convertrable economic good with a possibility for lucrative revenues. The olympic games do not seem to make the exception- for the next two Games periods of 2010 and 2012 IOC expects to get close to $4 billion from broadcastin rights.

The fiercer the competition- the larger the revenues.

In this spirit IOC  is this time planning to auction the olympic broadcasting rights nationally and thus get a larger revenue in Europe  ($ 200 million more)- than from EBU’s general offer. The implementation of this market logic could however be pretty risky in the times of advertising crisis and economic unsecurity of the commercial broadcasters. Till now only pay-tv providers (SKY Britain,Italy and Germany and CANAL+ France) have expressed their interest in acquiring the broadcasting rights- a tendency that can lead to an eventual exclusion of a large part of the European audience. And the olympic games are still an event of significant social importance that can be easily included in national lists of free public access and thus be politically “moved” to free-to-air broadcasters  (EU AVMS 2007).

IOC should consider this strong non-economic argument in its future European broadcasting rights poker…

For further Information: FAZ (30.07.2009) and worldsportslawblog

Posted by: euromediablog | July 29, 2009

RAI Withdraws Its Digital Service From SKY Italia

Italy’s public Broadcaster RAI is planning to withdraw its 5 satelite channels from SKY’s broadcasting plattform. This is the result of failed negotiations between both corporations about an eventual contract extension. Murdoch’s company offered 425 million euro for seven years which was apparently not enogh for RAI. One of the most reasonable expalanations for RAIs withdrawal is its cooperation with Mediaset in launching their own sattelite plattform- TIVU, which turns out to be a direct rival of SKY on the satelite market.

In comparison to other pubic service broadcasters in Europe however (BBC, ARD) RAI’s attitude seems to be more competitive than necessary. After all the purpose of a public broadcaster is to provide useful contents for its publics regardless of the channel. Excluding potential viewers from the public channels (SKY subsribers for example) does not really seem to match one of the major objectives of  the public remit RAI is obliged to and namely- Universal Access. But Italy is a strange countries, where public service broadcasters do not always have to serve the interests of the public.

Related articles: Mediaset and RAI vs. SKY Italia

For further information: medianetwork

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