AD INVESTMENTS IN THE MEDIA WERE GROWING IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2021

According to monitoring, the first half of 2021 brought more money from ad sales to the Czech media than the first half of last year.

Monitored investments relating to the purchase of ad space in the media in the first half of this year achieved a higher volume than in the same period of 2020, according to the data of AdIntel monitoring by Nielsen Admosphere. In aggregate, they were up six percent (CZK +2.7 billion) year-on-year in the monitored media types (TV, press, radio, OOH).

According to the monitoring, the highest year-on-year increases were achieved by print advertising (+11%) and TV advertising (+7%) in the first half and the volume of investments in radio advertising has also grown (+5%). On the contrary, OOH reported lower investments compared to last year.

This June saw a continued year-on-year growth in investments in all above-mentioned media types, with OOH leading the way (+23%).

The overview excludes comparison of investments in the internet advertising as the monitoring only includes banner and video ads and does not cover other forms of internet advertising.

Please note that the monitored investments do not express real financial volumes, they are based on price list costs and do not include discounts, bonuses or commissions.

Source: mediaguru.cz

AD INVESTMENTS IN MEDIA GREW SIGNIFICANTLY IN MAY

Monitoring for this May reports an almost one-third year-on-year growth in investments in media ad space.

The volume of gross monitored investments directed at media ad space purchases in May shows a significant year-on-year growth. On average, it exceeds 30% in the monitored ATL offline media. In gross figures, it is two billion Czech crowns more than last May. This is the outcome of AdIntel monitoring by Nielsen Admosphere.

A two-digit growth was reported by all monitored media with the highest values being achieved in print, OOH advertising and TV. Last May suffered from lower investments due to the first wave of the pandemic; compared to that period, this May shows that advertisers’ interest has recovered.

For the period of the first five month of this year (January to May), the monitored volume of ad investments is five percent higher than in the same period last year. Print and TV ads show the most favourable development while OOH advertising has lagged behind the last year’s volume.

Source: ATO-Nielsen Admosphere

The summary does not include investments in internet advertising as the monitoring only covers display advertising.

Please note that the volumes monitored do not express real volumes invested in media advertising, they rather show development trends.

Source: mediaguru.cz

STEPPING ON THE GAS. NOVA’S CEOS COMMENTING ON REDESIGNED NEWS AND KELLNER

How is the Czech economy doing? How are the most important firms in the country doing? And how do the bosses – the leaders of the firms – see the presence and future of the Czech Republic? Answers to these questions are searched in a series of interviews and articles to be found bellow:

We addressed tens of women and men leading Czech businesses. Not only the biggest ones but also the mid-sized ones across various industries. We want to know their experience gained in the most difficult year of the last decade and we want to find out how they has changed and what their direction is. We want to know how the backbone and brain of the Czech economy work and thus how the entire country operates and will operate in future.

Did it all happen so fast? This week, it has been two years since the strongest local TV – Nova – introduced its new co-CEOs: the long-term CFO Klára Brachtlová and the Sales Director Jan Vlček who has similar long-term experience.

Within twenty four months, they had to deal with the move under PPF’s control, changes relating to the coronavirus, huge investments and tragic deaths of people who were key to Nova’s business.

“Turbulent times,” agrees Vlček and Brachtlová adds, “Our appointment was a natural development and then, everything was strongly impacted by external conditions.”

From Barrandov terraces there is an impressive view of the sky above Prague. The clouds disappeared during our double interview for Forbes, which must have been rather symbolic for Nova’s CEOs. According to them, after all Covid adversities their TV is heading for a better future.

“We have many plans and we step on the gas,” agree the bosses. At the same time, they appreciate the model of two CEOs, which is not too usual in the Czech Republic.

“Coordination is more difficult but I keep saying that we complement one another very well and that we are able to substitute each other very effectively. I find it a big advantage not only in these times,” says Brachtlová.

According to Vlček, their long-term personal relationship, mutual trust and respect play a significant role in the arrangement. “We have to be able to rely on each other. Klára comes from the financial background, I was involved in sales and marketing, so we complement one another perfectly.“

Let’s discuss the key moments of your two years in office. How was the TV market impacted by the pandemic?

JV: It was definitely a shock in terms of demand. When the first wave came, the market slumped radically, by tens of percent. Every media type suffered significantly, TV probably came off best in percentage terms. But at the same time, the market was very fast to take a breath and bounce back, after about two months cooperation continued. The second wave surprised everyone by being so long and by locking down economy so thoroughly. But now we can see that clients are planning and starting their activities again.

Has the income from advertising changed for you?

JV: The most strict lockdown occurred before Christmas and as clients plan ahead the autumn investments did not suffer. The second half of the year was very good.

KB: In terms of TV consumption, it was ironically a very successful year, ratings went up significantly.  Consumption of streaming platforms has also increased, in this respect, it was a very positive period for TV in fact. People were locked down in their homes and consumed more video content.

What measures did you have to adopt?

KB: We responded very early, in principle at the end of last January. And we were very careful, keeping the measures even in summer when other firms started easing. We strictly divided critical infrastructures into shifts so that the teams did not meet, we built a backup broadcast centre in our premises half a kilometre away, not to mention other preventive measures, such as wearing masks at work or the restricted operation of our canteen.

What was the hardest impact of the pandemic? Was it the impact on your original production?

KB: Definitely in the short term. For me it was the most complicated matter in the spring – in mid-March or so we all of a sudden stopped our production. People were scared, nobody knew what would come next. It had some effect on viewers, we reduced the number of premieres significantly in the spring. But all TV companies joined their forces and a shooting exception was negotiated with the Ministry of Health quite soon. At the end of last May, we were able to start our production again without masks but of course, under strict preventive measures.

JV: We are a company that is modern with considerable digital background, which means that although some teams – such as news production – were hit by the measures more, the rest of the firm was less affected.

We introduced nearly compulsory work from home, a number of things relating to clients were settled through video conferences. And it actually worked very well. People were suffering more socially.

A new owner was another turning point. What has changed with the entry of PPF? Or are the changes going on?

KB: The courtship period and finalisation of the transaction were relatively long and in my opinion, PPF’s entry confirmed the direction and strategy that our TV had followed. PPF is a very strong group ready to invest. It has been fully supporting us in the set direction, which is the production of quality content and its consumption across platforms.

Was the process hit by the sudden death of Petr Kellner?

KB: In the first place, we have to say that what happened to Mr. Kellner is a large human and family tragedy. It had an unbelievable personal impact on all of us, he was a young man, has children…  That was the main effect.

As for the firm’s operation, PPF has a broad portfolio of firms with autonomous and very competent managements – I consider Nova to be one of them. In terms of operation, there were no changes, we continue our strategy.

JV: The firm has its plan for many years to come, teams are stable, structures are set up and working well. There are no changes from this perspective, the human aspect is the worst when you think about what happened.

Can anything change with the new owner of PPF?

JV: At the group level, management was assumed by the other co-owner who had been building the firm with Mr. Kellner since the start, for thirty years (Editor’s Note: Ladislav Bartoníček). So nothing has changed.

Radim Pařízek, the head of Digital Broadcasting, died unexpectedly this year as well …

KB: Digital Broadcasting is Nova’s strategic partner and Radim Pařízek was not only a business partner for me but also a close friend, his death touched me greatly.

As for our cooperation with the firm, we go on. Radim’s arrangements were very good, he had a strong team building relationships with the Czech Telecommunication Office and has brought up a strong person to replace him, his daughter. She is taking over the business together with Mr. Jeřábek and I find the firm stable.

Your position is also stable. What is the most challenging aspect of being a clear market leader?

JV: If you are in Nova’s position, you are always the first one who is attacked by those wanting to cut off a piece of the pie. We have been successful in keeping and strengthening our position and we continue growing in a number of areas.

It was not always easy, the TV market was fragmented, there are many more channels than five or ten years ago and the internet has brought considerable fragmentation of media consumption to the media landscape. Habits are changing and so are the target groups in individual media types.

Despite all that you keep your TV ratings.

JV: We are even increasing some of them. The news is an excellent example. The internet as such has brought disruption and we are happy to be in both the TV and online business. With the entry of PPF, we strengthened one of the pillars on which our strategy is built – a paid service funded from subscription. From this point of view, we are also growing in terms of the other pillar, which is being market innovator.

But the pillar is very little for the time being…

JV: We have big targets. Our long-term plan is very ambitious and is focused on digital, our strategy is to change the focus of our business model from a strict B2B approach to being able to adopt B2C, which is represented namely by Voyo. We have some quantified goals that approach a more even distribution of income from services and classic advertising. It is now dominant.

KB: However, TV advertising will remain the key pillar in the income structure.

Are you working with an alternative that digital will be key for you one day?

JV: There is a very interesting aspect that the difference between a combination of TV and digital and a combination of digital and another media type is huge. We can see that TV and digital are complementary. For example, from Voyo we have first-hand experience that every medium can communicate certain things better and their mutual powers are yet to be seen. In this respect, we are not worried that digital might slowly nibble away at TV. They are different things but they strengthen each other.

TV is still the most effective in terms of reach quality.

KB: We take the internet as a supplement, as an additional source of income that is definitely helping us and will help us financing the ever more expensive production of original content. The funds just do not flow from one area to the other.

JV: In addition, TV is still by far the cheapest medium to reach target groups in general – and is likely to keep this position for a very, very long time. TV is also most effective in terms of reach quality, you can show things to people on a big screen, with sound, which emotions. Which is much easier to remember than what target groups in other media can see.


For 2019, Voyo’s revenues were CZK 52 million. Where would you like to get looking forward?

KB: It is a complex and central project, we are working on it with other CME countries. Within five years, we would be very happy to have a million subscribers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. From this you can count other figures.

Should your viewers expect that part of your production will go to Voyo only?

KB: We will not specify the level of investments but in terms of numbers of planned formats and shows, viewers will be affected this autumn when some shows will be shown primarily on Voyo. At least one format will go just to Voyo in the autumn, we are also planning a great show Love Island that will be run on both linear TV and Voyo.

How is the appropriate strategy sought in this respect?

KB: It is alchemy. The programming strategy has many variables: what our competitors are doing, what the power of the public TV is at the moment; working with target groups is also very important. Everyone expects that younger viewers will go to Voyo to see more adventurous formats than the classic linear TV viewers. This is the starting point.

JV: At the moment, we are preparing repositioning of TV channels, which is part of the alchemy. We seek to address individual target groups more effectively. There are more things to come. We want to optimise the existing portfolio of channels.

Can there be a change in the number of channels?

JV: Everything is open, we will see. We can expect the rebranding and repositioning project this year.

Is it still true that your target group is defined by age as 15–54? Does the young generation watch TV?

JV: There is an interesting effect. Teenagers tend to consume things more on digital displays but when they settle down, have their homes and families they come back to the more standard model, consuming TV. That is what matches their lifestyle. It is true that we reach the youngest groups either through targeted TV shows or by digital. But when we talk about category 20+, there is a return to the standard model.

KB: In addition, there are TV formats that are directed at substantially younger audiences, such as Pop Idol (SuperStar).

You increase investments in your original production by thirty percent year-on-year. What are they used for?

KB: For linear TV, we are working on the TV series Pan profesor starring Vojtěch Dyk and we are preparing a great surprise – we are working on the redesign of our newsroom. Viewers will have a chance to see one of the most modern studios in Europe this year. It is also a large investment.

We invited the world-famous studio Veech x Veech to cooperate with us and they made the design for us. And we are back at the alchemy: we had alternatives to choose from to the best of our knowledge and belief and the board has selected the one that we believe is the best.

Will the footage change? And the news faces?

KB: The change relates to the technological part and design so that the newsroom is modern and follows current trends.

JV: The concept of the studio should be more versatile so that it may be used for projects on the internet.

KB: We are working on it intensively and it will be ready soon, within months. We really have a lot to do now. This period is very challenging but great for us.

Are there any news to be introduced in the traditionally slower summer season?

KB: Apart from investing much, we are good economists. People are outside, they are not willing to watch TV and we need to make an effective use of our money. That is why we concentrate on the strongest seasons, which are autumn and spring.

JV: At the same time, in summer we can monitor behaviour of viewers who spend more time outside. We focus on what to offer them on Nova Plus, Voyo – so that they have more shows and can watch them wherever they want to.

Nova has always considered the idea of paid terrestrial broadcasting. What is the situation now?

KB: Our goal is to always, continuously and permanently maximize our content monetization. It is no secret that this is one of the ways. But as you have heard, we have a lot to do, we are stepping on the gas but having too many goals is tiring. It is an alternative that we have been taking into consideration for a long time, it fits perfectly in TV Nova’s strategy. But all in good time.

JV: We are making projections and analyses. It would be a way to further diversify our income but it is not a simple solution.

Source: forbes.cz

I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED A SILLY SEASON, SAYS PAVEL ŠTRUNC, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF CNN PRIMA NEWS

It has been a year since the new CNN Prima News brand was presented in the Czech TV market. “We must always be prepared for everything,” says Pavel Štrunc, Editor-in-Chief of CNN Prima News.

The recent days have brought the Vrbětice case to the public sphere. The case is likely to resonate across (not only Czech) media for a long time. What did it mean for CNN Prima News?

Primarily the opportunity to show that we are able to immediately respond to exceptional situations. Provide the latest information and responses of those involved in the case – politicians, institutions, experts and citizens – to viewers in a fast, understandable and attractive manner. The development of the case is certainly dynamic and will be the key topic for us for a long time. However, this weekend was rich in exceptional events; on Saturday, we dedicated a five-hour special broadcast to the funeral of Prince Philip. I am glad that we can produce such demanding broadcasts well. After all, it is confirmed by hard data, the broadcast reached 575 thousand viewers in the 15+ target group, the all day share was 2.74 percent on Saturday.

How many people are preparing the news?

According to our headcount data, I am in charge of nearly four hundred people, including reporters, editors and many other professionals. It is a big TV. We no longer broadcast for an hour, it is 15 hours and more now. But if we have a look at the daily operation, there are twelve to thirteen people in the newsroom today who are prepared to fill both continuous broadcasting and the prime time news with content.

For our website, the number is similar, but there are people who are ‘on shift’ preparing texts for presenters of continuous news and in addition, there are other editors who come with topics to our meetings and then set off to shoot the reports. So the number is higher. A news service is a living organism.

In February, you added late-night news from 11 pm, what was the reason?

It shows that viewers are interested in late-night news, from 9, 10, 11 pm. We know that people watch the screens at these times and the ratings are quite interesting. When we have 0.5 to 0.7% of audience share, it is attractive for us.  As news TV we should broadcast all day, both in the morning and in the evening.

You have mentioned an audience share. The professional server Médiář provided information that CNN Prima News saw 0.44% in January and that you have to double the share by May if you want to meet the plan.

In March, we had 0.75 percent. In general, TV is less dynamic than digital. The audience share is understandably important to us, we are seeking to achieve the planned share and I believe that we will even exceed it. I cannot refrain from being optimistic, but it will not happen as fast as we expected. I think that we are on the right track. The March result of our average audience share is not bad in my opinion, there were days and shows when our daily audience share was 1.5%. Specifically, it was when we broadcast Partie, our discussion show that hosted the Chairman of the Senate, Miloš Vystrčil, the Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, and President Miloš Zeman. We can put our shoulder to the wheel. But the journey will be longer, I admit.

Have you already put your team together or are you still building it? Some people from Prima have appeared in Seznam Zprávy recently…

They were first in Seznam Zprávy, then they were working with us for some time and now, they are back again. As I have said, a news service is a living organism. I think that the team is stable at the moment but of course, I would like to complete it with additional names. They should include experienced journalists who are famous in the news community and with whom I make interviews as well as promising fresh reporters. We have several of them, they are learning on shifts, they want to work hard and come up with new topics and I will not prevent them, on the contrary, I want to support them. We should not headhunt famous names on the TV market. I would rather hire people who come to us on their own to be part of CNN Prima News and we will train them, we will work with them from the beginning until they become more stable staff members.

When you mentioned training, long ago Prima damaged its reputation among journalists due to a record of a meeting with the then head of news, Jitka Obzinová, informing her editors that Prima would apply a single specific approach to the migration issue and those who did not like it were not welcome on TV. Is this not happening anymore?

No, this is not happening anymore. Definitely not. It is contrary to my and Prima management’s conviction.

We continue working in compliance with the independent news policy connected with an objective, balanced and professional way of providing information, showing various opinions, including the critical ones.

When I was talking about the need to train young editors and reporters I meant teaching them what a good topic is, how to process it with high quality and how to approach it critically. Not giving them strict orders what to do.

How beneficial the CNN brand in the name of your station is to you and how has Prima changed by introducing the brand?

I think that the entry of CNN is a big step for Prima. A big step was also its move to new large premises. I believe that CNN will not only strengthen Prima’s news but will also be beneficial to the entire company. I am often asked what the benefit of CNN is. Apart from the option to contact their reporters wherever they are in the world and be the first to bring verified information from the spot in cooperation with them – we had a live broadcast of the Congress attack while having other guests in our studio providing their comments, which was an ideal combination in my opinion – the largest benefit of our cooperation with CNN is something that you cannot see from the outside but what is seen in the backstage: CNN is perfect in working with content it has, it is able to exploit it, it is able to provide it to viewers repeatedly in various forms, it can complete it and these are the skills to learn. CNN has many years of experience, it is a great brand and that may be useful for Prima.

Do you feel any effort on the part of CNN to shape Prima, for example politically?

No, I don’t. Let’s make this clear because it is important for me. If I understand your question correctly you are referring to the fact that in the US context, Fox News is perceived as a station that is more on the right while CNN is more on the left. And in the US context that is based on the competition of the two strong parties it makes perfect sense. But we are not influenced at all in this respect, our editors are independent of CNN. We have accepted the standards and policies of CNN International as part of licence conditions but at the same time, we meet the Code of Ethics for news and journalism prepared by ATO and as I have already mentioned our coverage continues to be balanced, objective and politically independent.

I have heard a comment that CNN Prima News is more of a Czech Fox News.

A Czech Fox News? Why?

Because of the content and focus of the news. It related to Prima’s news in the previous period when it for example emphasised the alleged influence of George Sörös on elections in European countries, but all information related to Sörös and there were no reports on other effects. It was connected with the fact that Czech Prima’s view was similar to Fox News.

But you are talking about news broadcast by Prima about five years ago.

Yes, it is true but for example on social networks, these reports are still shared and reminded again and again.

I understand. But I would try and answer as follows: If you have a wedding and invite your family and guests from a wide area, some people may take it as your fresh start but you will never satisfy everyone. Someone will think that the meal is too cold, someone will find the ceremony too long, etc. That may be what is going on on Prima. It is important to say that we have been broadcasting for less than a year. I am convinced that our content is excellent, that we make good interviews, goods reports and that Prima has become a strong player. Our website is successful, it ranks among the strongest websites in the Czech market and some may dislike it. And this may be the reason why old cases are recycled. But I am here to make the company going on in future.

I think that the main thing is not that someone wants to recycle your old cases, the matter is that the view of certain topics Prima used to apply was appreciated by a portion of the internet community and it keeps sharing it.

You are right. But it is the same as if at the wedding, someone finds the potato salad too sour, you just cannot please everyone. I believe that our colleagues from CNN would let us know immediately if anything worked bad in terms of our cooperation, they keep monitoring our work on a regular basis and we are in contact with them continuously.

However, one piece of news that was spreading over the social networks in its misinterpreted form is from the last year. It was about testing a single person several times with different results, which was shared as distorted information – for example that the testing took place within a single day in 10 different locations, which was not true. As a result, people in the discussion took the information as confirmation that tests were useless although the report related to a single doubtful testing in a single place. 

But you said it yourself, it was misinterpretation. We provided a fair and correct report, which was later living its own life. Unfortunately, this is part of our life these days although I am not too happy about it.

Can you do anything against it?

If I were to respond to all assumptions or speculations or insults I would not do anything else. Most likely, I would have to keep posting something on social networks but it is not my job, I am responsible for the company to work well, be attractive to its viewers, have high ratings, make really independent news and not to be scared to invite guests having conflicting views and being able to participate in a debate hosted by our TV in which all parties have an opportunity. That is all.

What news are you planning for the near future?

We are in an election year, so the news will focus on this issue. People talk about a silly season but since I have been working with the media I have not experienced any. One day there is a case concerning the appointment of the minister of culture, which was the case of Mr. Šmarda, another time there are riots in the United States, so we always have to be prepared for anything that may occur. After all, the current situation relating to the Vrbětice case is proof of that. But we will definitely concentrate on elections, we are preparing new formats that I believe will be attractive for viewers and we will do our best to engage viewers as much as we can and take them as close as possible.

Source: denik.cz

PRIMA’S CEO MAREK SINGER: WE ARE NOT JUST TELLING YOU WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR

We have done anything to spice up the launch of CNN Prima NEWS with adrenaline, says Marek Singer, the Prima group’s CEO, in an interview, remembering the launch of the news channel that celebrates its first birthday on 3 May. “We established the brand as a multiplatform. Thanks to TV and online channels our reach is up to 7.7 million people now,” he says.

In an interview for the CNN Prima NEWS Year 1 magazine, Marek Singer talks about his feeling that the social importance of TV has increased, about his assessment of the previous year and about his future plans for the project. “We are building the platform on the mainstream, on an average Czech viewer, but we have the ambition to address more demanding viewers. And we seek to do an important thing: let the opposing opinions be heard,” he says.

What was the first year of CNN Prima NEWS (CPN)?

By all means interesting. Full of lessons learnt. Even if you think that you have experience in establishing several TV channels and know exactly how it will turn out… The results will be exactly the opposite! Something is slightly below your expectations, other things highly exceed them. That is exactly what happened.

Prima, historically mainly a family TV station, welcomed a continuous news channel. Was it a meeting of two very different worlds? 

On one hand, Prima is a family TV station, that is true. But on the other, we have always sought to build a broad portfolio of channels. Of course, we had no hands-on experience with a news station but for example thanks to Prima ZOOM we knew what audience groups we were targeting. However, a news service is naturally a completely different discipline. We need a huge background, in principle you have live broadcasts all the time, it is a very complex and demanding matter. Not to get bored when introducing a new news multiplatform, we moved from Palmovka to Strašnice and started broadcasting from a new studio equipped with the latest technology. We did anything we could to spice up the launch with adrenaline.

Plus you started the CNNPrima.cz website that has quickly become one of the most read in the Czech Republic. In combination with Prima’s traditionally strong social networks, a giant online multiplatform emerged, relying on viewers and readers from everywhere – TV, web, social networks. Was the bet on a multichannel information attack worth doing?

It was the key principle from the very beginning. The news as such is increasingly consumed online. Formerly, news TV was a dominant platform, which applies to CNN too. But even their proportion is 50:50 at the moment. Our CNN Prima NEWS has more online readers than TV viewers. We have been building the brand to work well for both media types since the beginning. In the long run, we should not care whether it is more TV or digital. The aggregate reach is what counts. And from this point of view, it is a very successful project.

And what is the reach?

The CNNPrima.cz website is visited by up to a million real users per day now, which is an excellent result, we are among the top 3 news websites in the Czech Republic. And TV, on which the web content is based, is watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers. If we count viewership of shows in combination with Prima’s main channel, the main news programmes are watched by nearly a million of viewers. I cannot wait when the ratings are presented for those two entities together – we will achieve figures comparable with the largest news platforms in the Czech Republic. I even think that we could be number one.

The sum of TV and online multiplatform measurement has been unofficial so far, media houses are doing it on their own. What is thus the resulting CPN’s reach on all TV and online platforms?

At present we reach up to 7.7 million people. If it is confirmed by official measurement, it may be more than Seznam Zprávy.

How does this multiplatform work in terms of business? We know well the costs of TV and digital advertising. The difference is enormous.

You definitely have to have the background of a big company that is willing to make long-term investments. These costs are not recovered within a year. And of course, it is a big advantage if you have a successful media house with eight TV stations. We managed to get the online news running thanks to the amazing work of Tomáš Večeřa’s team and our online platform highly exceeds our expectations. The TV station has the appropriate growing trend and I believe that the target will be achieved. We are still extremely successful compared to other news TV projects. After eleven months, we have a triple audience share compared to their results for the same period when the competition was lower, or there were much fewer TV stations.

Let’s talk about content. All Czech Republic quoted CNN Prima NEWS for example at the moment when it brought the information that Jan Blatný would end up in his office in the Ministry of Health well ahead of other news services and the information confirmed to be true. And there was a large number of other news taken from CPN. Do you feel that the social importance of Prima has increased?

I definitely perceive that the social importance of the Prima group has increased. Significantly. We build the news platform on the latest news and updates that are interesting for most Czech viewers, we bring opinions from multiple sources. Minority of news media is doing the same these days.

Journalism has become a more active profession for many people, it is influenced by emotions, some journalists become fans…

That is exactly what is happening all around the globe. By the way, we became the most-quoted news medium in the Czech Republic last year. I think that the CNN image is helpful. All the time we have been successful in inviting political or economic leaders and elite and engaging them in the broadcast. Their participation may seem to be a matter of course but it is not. And I am all the more pleased that they want to appear in our programme.

What is the cause of your website success in your opinion? Why has it become so popular so quickly?

I have a déjà vu moment. Six weeks before the launch we were working on the nearly final web design. As I was watching it I said to myself, Is this a strategy that will in fact not copy the most successful visual style on the market? Have we really bet on the fact that the trend of videos and pictures is highly developed, that the mainstream viewers will accept it, that we will not have 24 text links making an impression that you will learn everything in a single place? We have really relied on visual attractiveness. We are combining very interesting headlines and attractive pictures. And that was the winning strategy. Most competitors seek to copy the well-established style of Seznam Zprávy. We have taken the opposite direction with CNN Prima NEWS, which works excellently.

And what about TV? Ratings are growing, there are new shows, for example the news from the regions (Zprávy z regionů) has immediately become one of the most watched programmes of CNN Prima NEWS…

New programmes are not the only things that matter. Our team of editors has become accustomed to a certain scheme and learnt to fill it with content. I think that it is not possible to succeed with what everybody else is doing. It is necessary to take a topic that affects society and develop it in all possible forms. That is what our editors have already learnt. And now they start to reap the harvest. Specifically Zprávy z regionů is a very popular form of content for Czech viewers. It is a logical step, it was a piece of the puzzle that was missing. This format will continue to grow.

What people like about CNN Prima NEWS is also the crime news (Krimi zprávy) that you moved back to the main news block on the main channel. Are you satisfied with that programme?

Yes, I am. Krimi zprávy is a classic format. It is a type of journalism occurring all around the world. For example, crime news is what made Sky News famous. The return of Krimi zprávy to the prime time is highly promising. How did the covid pandemic affect the TV business? In the crisis, firms cut off advertising at first – but it is advertising what makes TV going. The pandemic has impacted our business as well. It was the worst at moments when something got closed all of a sudden. The second quarter of the last year was the worst, we experienced it the most. In the rest of the year, we managed to rebalance the situation and achieve the desired levels. The first quarter of this year was not too bad, there is no increase but the decline is not too sharp. I think that the development will depend on whether the easing will be permanent or whether we will be up and down again. Clients show fatigue rather than panic. This insecurity and a certain resignation is fortunately not reflected in ad spends. But if another lockdown occurs for example in the autumn, there will apparently be some reflection.

And what do you think, how will it turn out?

It is a million-dollar question! (He is laughing.) If I have a look at it from the historic point of view, after the frequently discussed Spanish flu, which spread between 1918 and 1920, the global economy recovered very quickly. After that, people were surprisingly very motivated to start something new although it was said that in combination with World War I, the world was snookered. But the opposite happened… It was an unbelievable start for the 1920s. This is an optimistic scenario for me.

And what about the pessimistic one?

It is simple. Governments have printed an unbelievable amount of money to cover the costs incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. And when the money is spent, there will be a great crisis. But as usual, the truth is likely to be somewhere in between.

What is the future of CNN Prima NEWS?

In the long run, it does not make a difference how I imagine the future. What is important is what viewers expect from the news. There are two rather vigorous trends across all society. The younger the generation, the more vigorous the trends are. The first trend is rather a superficial way of processing information, the other one is the visuality. They go hand in hand. I personally think that it is not the right path. But it is my personal problem. As the classic says: I can disagree, I can protest but it is all I can do about it. And as we are a commercial medium we will logically seek to have the highest attractiveness for the future and current viewers and readers. Infotainment is just part of the mainstream news.

And what about journalistic formats?

I find it very important that journalists seek to apply a modern form of journalism. When journalism does not work, there will be no information tool making people think about an issue, sit down and realize what the issue means to them. But if we think that young people will sit down in front of their TV or a computer and switch on a static debate of three old men on a certain topic, we are naive. Young people accept what they read on social networks…

Yes, that is happening. The question is whether the substance of traditional media disappears with the retreat of traditional political parties. What do you think?

People will be interested in current affairs all the time. This interest has been in people’s DNA since prehistoric times and we will keep it forever. That will not change. But information sources are what may change. Traditional media and their news must develop, otherwise they will end up as the traditional parties.

When CNN Prima NEWS was launched you said that you were targeting mainly those who keept switching the programmes. There are 28% of them according to your estimates. Is there any typical CPN viewer or did you just capture those who were switching over the first year?

Viewers and readers are being profiled. We are really at the beginning. We have learnt to walk but we still cannot run. For the time being, our viewers are younger, a bit more educated and there are more women among them compared to our competitors. But that is what we want as a commercial medium. We are going in the right direction. What I definitely want to emphasize is the fact that 20% of our followers are socio economic classes A or B, for our website it is even 27% and a quarter of our readers are people up to 34 years. If we continue doing our job well, our form will be more accessible than the form of more traditional news media. We do not want to close our viewers in their social bubbles, we want to provoke them a bit. To let them hear an opinion that does not resonate with their views. I think that it is extremely important for people to be exposed to opinions of the other party as part of a factual debate.

The Czech society (and it is not the only one) is simply polarized in a strict, emotional and conflicting manner. Will this change? No, unfortunately I do not think so. I think that a huge number of conflicts arise from the fact that we no longer want to listen to each other. The business model of social networks is to blame. They are providing us with content that we want to hear so that we spend as much time as possible with them… It would be a path to hell if the fight for an objective discussion was given up by the news media because it is more comfortable to select a target group and keep telling it what it wants to hear.

What would you tell to those who doubt CNN Prima NEWS?

(Smiling) I would like to let them know: 7.7 million viewers.

Source: cnn.iprima.cz

CNN PRIMA NEWS BOSS SINGER: IN A GOOD WAY, WE WANT TO BE MAINSTREAM

Tomorrow night, viewers can get their first taste of what the alliance between Prima Group and American news station CNN entails. CNN Prima News will kick off its main programme before 7 p.m., followed by other programmes. There will be a total of 30 of them, broadcast between the continuous stream of daily newscasts. Deník spoke to Prima Group CEO Mark Singer about the new project.

How has the launch of the project been affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

Unfortunately, the pandemic hit exactly in the final preparations, which involved experts from CNN, so all foreign colleagues had to leave. I estimate it delayed us by about a month.

Don’t you regret missing what was probably the most newsworthy month?

From a long-term investment perspective, the launch date doesn’t really matter. Coronavirus has certainly attracted a lot of viewers to TV screens who don’t regularly watch news channels, but we want to build a station that has lasting value, so one month doesn’t play a role in that.

What exactly does the partnership with CNN involve?

It manifests itself on three levels. When CNN chooses you as a suitable partner, you are contractually allowed to use the CNN brand in your name, which they are very protective of. Next, they help you build a newsroom and set up a way of producing news that nobody here can do. They’ll provide coaches and experts to make it look like CNN. And the third benefit is that you have access to a global database of CNN content that our editors can tap into and even assign stories to at any time.

So if something happens on the other side of the planet, you can instantly pick up CNN’s coverage from the ground?

Yes. Plus, we can see in real time on their system what they’re preparing, so we can use that for our news feed.

You talked about the trainers who oversaw CNN Prima News to make sure that it was as immersive as CNN, thanks to its state-of-the-art studio and technology, but also that the editors were up to the quality of their American colleagues. Can this be learned in a few months?

You can start the process. I think we’re pretty far along that path, but it’s certainly going to get better. It’s a different style of work that people have to learn. American experts praise us for how far we have come, but of course we cannot yet be at the same level as someone who has been doing it for 20 years.

Viewers will have a chance to judge that as they are offered shows by news icons Christiane Amanpour and Richard Quest. Specifically, Amanpour has worked as a war correspondent, has been at all the turning points of this millennium, has interviewed world leaders, and in short has a vast knowledge base, even at her age. Don’t you miss people like that on your team?

I think we have managed to get just such people. When you see our broadcasts, I hope you will confirm that, for example, Pavlina Wolfová’s 360º shows that she is that kind of journalist. She has a lot of life and professional experience behind her, she has a lot of insight and her show could be the Czech equivalent of Amanpour.

“Within a year we would like to have 1.5 per cent viewership, which is a reasonable ambition in relation to ČT24.”

Your editorial team is 70 per cent female. Is that intentional?

It wasn’t the original intention, but it has worked out that we have a large majority of women in key positions at CNN Prima News. From that point of view, we will also be an interesting alternative to existing news channels.

On what basis did you assemble the team of about 40 key faces of the station?

We started with a smaller team of people who ran the newsroom. In the first phase of the project, the editor-in-chief Martin Ondráček had a lot to do with the selection. People like him, i.e. with journalistic experience, the ability to learn new things and moderating skills, selected other colleagues, so it snowballed into the final editorial shape.

You mentioned the experienced journalist Martin Ondráček. Why did he leave the project last November?

This is a terribly demanding discipline, an exhausting profession. There are times when it gets too much, and Martin and I agreed that he would resign from the project for personal reasons at a moment when it was clear that most of the work was still ahead.

The newsroom will be managed by a somewhat unconventional three-person team – Eliška Čeřovská, Petra Benešová and Online News Director Tomáš Večeřa. Will it work?

It is something new in the Czech lands, but the main American branch of CNN, for example, works on this principle. If the three people can work together perfectly and complement each other, it will definitely work.

What do you want to do to beat ČT24, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary and has the continuous news craft in its blood, besides technological gadgets and links with CNN?

We don’t want to beat them. They have built up a specific style of reporting in over 15 years that serves as a public service. But in all markets with a developed news business, you see that there is room for at least two or three different styles of channels. We don’t want to take viewers away from ČT24 because there is a place for commercial news alongside the public service platform. It works very well in Britain, for example, where the BBC and Sky News thrive side by side.

Z1 there is Seznam TV, but it is limiting its news programmes. Are you not afraid of a similar fate?

We are not afraid of that. We assume that there are 28 percent of the adult population who jump between different sources of information during the day. I don’t want to evaluate the previous experiments you mentioned. It was probably a combination of economic factors and perhaps an underestimation of the production background that led to them being less successful in the final analysis.

One of your key advisers, British journalist Tim Lister, talked to Info.cz about CNN Prima NEWS profile: “We want to honour accuracy and fairness. No one who sees the broadcast will be able to say we are siding with anyone. That we prefer a certain politician, that we are neglecting a border region. We are not going to pander.” That sounds to me like an extract from the public service television code. Not to you?

Our professional rules were inspired by CNN. But they are very similar in the democratic world, and a good journalist has to follow them in any TV station. I wouldn’t expect it to be any different from the ČT or BBC code. But I see a big difference in the way it is handled. You can accurately, fairly and impartially assess a particular event, but it’s how you present it to the viewer that matters. You can do it in a more complicated way, so that you can be understood primarily by a person with knowledge of the subject, or you can do it in such a way that it catches the attention of the ordinary reader of Deník in Benešov at first sight.

I also ask because until now TV Prima has been perceived in news and journalism as a kind of counterpart to ČT, a station that, for example, sided with Miloš Zeman during the presidential election. Next year there are parliamentary elections, and in January 2023 there will be presidential elections. Won’t you become a TV station that will cheer for the current ruling party?

I’ll ignore your statement about Miloš Zeman, because I don’t think it’s accurate. We are certainly not going to copy the American model, where TV stations tend to favour certain views. We want to follow the motto “no matter the consequences”. We think that we will be specific in this as well, because many media in the Czech Republic show this inclination. It is in objectivity that we could attract a lot of viewers.

So you’re not going to push anyone’s political cart?

We haven’t pushed it so far, and we certainly won’t do so in the future.

Do you really think that the TV duel between Drahoš and Zeman before the second round of the election was not pro-Zeman in its arrangement and moderation? And when the president wants to say something, he chooses TV Prima to do it, for example in the coronavirus crisis…

To this I would just say that we sent the topic headings to both parties at the same time five days in advance, and nobody made any comments on them, even before the debate started. After the presidential election debate, both candidates thanked me for my objectivity, and only afterwards did the media convince one of them that he should make a stand.

The CNN Prima News project, including the hypermodern studio, must have cost hundreds of millions. How are you going to make a return, albeit probably easier in a group with nine stations?

That’s one element, we sell advertising across all our channels together, so we don’t have a problem like Z1, which had to rely on itself. Our model is based on a similar premise to CNN’s business plan, which is a private for-profit broadcaster. It’s a combination of traditional advertising and special shows. On CNN, for example, you’ll see Travel Minute, which is sponsored lifestyle content. This is a cocktail that can be profitable.

After the economy shuted down, the media have big losses due to advertising and advertising blackouts. Do you expect any help from the government in this regard?

When shops and services close down, the client of course does not need advertising. We solve this by agreeing to postpone it to a later date. We are all counting on the timetable for the relaxation of government regulations coming to fruition and getting back to normal operations within a few months. So I see this as a time-limited problem, but it is also costing us a lot of money. We have big, albeit short-term, downturns, and that’s why we’re in talks with the government, as we all are, about some form of assistance, particularly in the area of producing our own content. It turns out that in crises like this it is television and news that citizens turn to.

Do you have a target for audience share?

We are targeting a broad audience, which I would define as average Czech citizens. We are not going to target intellectuals, nor are we going to present anything tabloid-like. In a good sense, we want to be mainstream. Within a year we would like to have a 1.5 per cent viewership, which is a reasonable ambition in relation to ČT24.

Source: prazsky.denik.cz

AVMSD REVIEW: A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, WITH MORE WORK AHEAD

Egta – the association of television and radio sales houses – commends EU policymakers for reaching an agreement on a new Audiovisual Media Services Directive. Two years of challenging negotiations have delivered some welcome flexibility in commercial communications which should contribute to a more competitive environment for European broadcasters.
We are encouraged by the liberalisation of the rules on advertising minutes and the much-needed protection of media service providers’ signal integrity. In tandem with the new responsibilities that video sharing platforms will have to abide by, sales houses see this as a first step towards a level playing field for European content producers.
egta and its member sales houses saw the revision as an opportunity to modernise the European audiovisual regulatory framework. Despite a constructive dialogue with the European institutions, it should be acknowledged though that the net result is one of modest progress rather than a future-proof legislation that reflects market realities.
Malin Häger, egta President, comments: “We sincerely welcome the positive progress made on the rules that govern audiovisual commercial communications, particularly with regards to advertising time limitations. However, we must also recognise that on some aspects, the text is less ambitious than we hoped for at the beginning of this process. Broadcasters remain far more heavily regulated than online actors who are competing for the same advertising revenue. In order to provide long-term value, it is therefore crucial that the measures foreseen in the reform are applied and enforced consistently”.
The audiovisual advertising sector contributes positively to the European Digital Single Market, and egta is confident that we can work together with regulators to ensure that this revision delivers tangible benefits to the industry.
About egta:

egta is the association representing television and radio sales houses, either independent from the channel or in-house, that market the advertising space of both private and public television and radio stations throughout Europe and beyond. egta counts more than 140 members across 40 countries.

www.egta.com