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The crisis in Greek media deepens

06 June 2011 / 20:06:01  GRReporter
3298 reads

The constantly deepening economic recession in Greece hit the media in the country. Print media report a serious decline in their sales. At the same time, it is not clear how many of the television stations would survive despite the serious restrictions in their budgets.

Technicians from private broadcasters were on strike again today demanding a new collective agreement to be signed, although it is not very likely to happen.

However, the data suggest that the causes and the results of the drop are different for each media. According to an article in the Marketingweek journal, despite the apparent dominance of rhetoric against reforms, exactly the left newspapers as well as the so-called "popular" or tabloid ones are those that register serious loss of sales, as opposed to the editions supporting the reforms.

As for television, things are not encouraging either. ALTERA TV is back on the air after nearly three months of silence due to bankruptcy, but for how long – it is not clear yet. The owning company applied in court to reach an agreement with its creditors, which will be considered on the 15th of June. To this end, creditors who own 62% of the debt worth 550 million euros should agree the company to adjust its obligations without putting its assets at risk. Then its obligations would suffer serious cuts, and it is totally unknown when and in what proportion they would be paid given the overall economic uncertainty. Meanwhile, around 700 journalists, technicians and administrative staff have not received their salaries for six months. They agreed to get back to work about ten days ago, when the main shareholder George Kouris gave them 1.3 million euros, which were allocated equally among them. The amounts, however, are far from covering the dues.

According to the analysis of Marketingweek, which is based on sociological data, although the public opinion is angry and protests against the current situation in Greece, it still reached the conclusion that the country must take a new way different from the one of the recent decades and seeks a solution and guidance.

At the same time, the author of the article ridiculously defined the announcement by the management of the state-owned radio –television ERT that a surplus of about 25 million euros could be reached this year as "the shortest joke." In fact, 84% of the state-owned television is financed of the fee which is included in the electricity bill. The people pay it whether they watch ERT TV or listen to ERT radio. And because the majority of the viewers prefer private televisions we could be almost sure that if they had a choice they would not pay this amount, reads the article.

The author of the article points out that ERT staff takes advantage from the fact that the television benefits from not paying the publication fee, which is beneficial for its employees. In this way they do not pay social security similar to their pensions, while the revenues for them come mostly from private broadcasters. "The truth is that ERT is another government entity that has all the disadvantages of other Greek state enterprises. It works for its employees, the political system and the names of the day, whether they are journalists, football clubs, etc. at the expense of the ordinary citizens who are now forced to reduce their living standard, of the unemployed who can not find work because the competitiveness of companies is low due to the high cost of electricity and the businessmen who close their companies due to the same reasons."

Under these conditions, advertising in Greece is pressed by the events in a manner unfair as far as its resources and costs are concerned.

The publication also comments that the Greek media are struggling to move into the new digital era, but the need for rationality is no longer a luxury either on the media, or on the other markets. It is a strict reality ruthlessly imposed by the conditions.

Tags: MediaCrisisEditionsTelevisionERTALTERATechnicians
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