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Media shakeup in Greece


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#1 HellasHab

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 08:53 PM

Major changes appear to be coming to the media landscape in Greece according to recent reports. Here is the status of each of the major networks:

ALTER- Currently off air due to ongoing work stoppages by employees, who have not been paid in months. It looks like this channel is on its last legs, unfortunately.

ALPHA- RTL will be holding an emergency meeting in the coming days to discuss the channels future and decide on a proposal for new management to run the channel. They have also started making cuts to programming and several of their shows might be cut which would leave them airing mainly foreign shows.

MEGA- Currently experiencing financial difficulties, shows are being cut and several series have had production halted and their future is up in the air. They gambled by putting together a programming lineup that includes several series and are now feeling the crunch due to the lack of ad revenue. Employee layoffs are also coming soon. A merger with Star Channel is now reportedly in the works.

STAR- Also experiencing financial difficulties and cash flow problems which means they may have problems paying employees. They are currently in talks with MEGA about a possible merger of the two channels.

ERT- Changes announced a while ago appear to be going forward including the closure of ET-1. The president recently quit so now ERT is operating without any top person in charge.

ANT1- Appear to be in the best shape financially of all channels although they are also suffering from the downturn in the advertising market. Have cut costs and are airing mainly reality shows which are cheap to produce.

It looks like in the coming months the media landscape in Greece will look quite differently. Mega & Star may merge together which means the eventual shut down of Star International. Alpha may be under new management soon and possibly even new ownership, while Alter is just one big mess and there does not appear to be any solution forthcoming any time soon.

Δύσκολες μέρες (και) για τους εργαζόμενους του Star....

Οι τελευταίες εξελίξεις στα media

Ζητήθηκε τριψήφιος αριθμός απολύσεων στο Mega

#2 Grk101

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 09:48 PM

Thanks for posting this HellasHab, I was also thinking about posting something similar. The TV landscape in Greece right now is a mess. A lot has to do with the decline in ad revenue (because of the crisis) more than ratings, which is where the broadcasters make most of their money from. Regarding the possible merger of Mega and Star, I have read that they may both continue separately but with a major shakeup in programming (specifically Star) to go with the shared resources that would come from a merger. As for Alterʼs issues, it didnʼt help that one of the owners was recently busted for tax evasion. Rumors say that a number of the big names at the channel are starting to look at other channels to move to after the new year. Also worth mentioning is that most of the contracts at Alpha run out at the end of December, as Alpha only offered 3 month contracts for shows at the start of this TV season. As for Ant1, they have a lot of cash on hand currently because of some big investments and sell offs but are also suffering from declined ad revenue like the rest of the channels. Also not mentioned above is Skai. I don't know their exact situation, but I remember reading about lay offs and cost cutting plans earlier this year.

Edited by Grk101, 30 November 2011 - 09:55 PM.


#3 HellasHab

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 10:15 PM

QUOTE
Regarding the possible merger of Mega and Star, I have read that they may both continue separately but with a major shakeup in programming (specifically Star) to go with the shared resources that would come from a merger.


Earlier on I read that they may either form a partnership agreement or they may merge. The more recent article (which is listed above) however mentions that they are in talks to merge. I don't understand why they would continue to operate separately, what kind of merger is that- only in Greece?! rolleyes.gif

As for Alter, I heard about one of the owners getting busted for tax evasion as well. He only owns a minority stake and I recently read that he has resigned his seat on the board. I feel bad for the employees, one report I read stated that they had not been paid in 10 months! I don't see any of these people getting what is owed to them unfortunately, I doubt they will even get a portion of their wages. I think they should take over control of the station, make it a sort of co-op where the employees run the thing and at the same time each one of them owns a stake in the station. The big name talent will find work somewhere so they probably could care less about the fate of the station but the operations staff are the ones that are suffering and will be left out in the cold if this situation is not resolved.

QUOTE
Also not mentioned above is Skai. I don't know their exact situation, but I remember reading about lay offs and cost cutting plans earlier this year.


I did not mention Skai as I had not heard anything about them?!

#4 likos

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 10:41 PM

QUOTE (HellasHab @ Nov 30 2011, 10:15 PM)
I did not mention Skai as I had not heard anything about them?!

Skai does not have a lot of programming costs, actually. The way the Alafouzos group works, a lot of the employees work for SKAI and another venue (radio or newspaper). When they started that a couple of years there was a lot of uproar, but now it is obvious this is preferable to a station shutting down and everyone losing their jobs.

As for the other channels, I think the TV landscape is but a microcosm of Greece and its lawlessness. Many years ago (late 80s) a study from Italian and British media groups had concluded that the Greek market can sustain a total of 5 channels, including the state ones, given its population size. Of course the studies had not predicted cowboy-style kidnapping of frequencies, operating without a license, not paying fees to the state, and the wonderful phenomenon of diaplekomena, where Bobolas etc finance unprofitable media so that they have political clout and blackmail governments into getting big budget construction projects (from metro to bridges to what not).

Well, the days of the wild wild west are over, and there is no more extortion money to be siphoned into TV stations, so it's time to pay the piper.

#5 Grk101

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 02:01 PM

A lot of rumors out currently. New reports say that discussions with Mega and Star haven't gone well, and there is a rumor Mega has been in contact with the Germans and Alpha now. Then there is a rumor that Mr. Kontominas has already made an offer for Alpha, and that with him involved a potential Mega-Alpha merger might seem easier. (full speculation from the report there)

The report also states that Ant1 has some economic stuff they need to sort out, and that the advertisement industry looks favorable upon a sale of Alter to Mr. Kyrakou (Ant1). They say that seems like an extreme long shot though even though there have been discussions in the past. I agree, I can't see what Ant1 could possibly gain by that.

www.newpost.gr/post/90556/Σε-νευρική-κρίση-οι-«βαρόνοι»-των-media/

#6 Grk101

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 10:02 PM

It seems Mr. Marinakis is a potential investor for Alter.

http://www.inews.gr/...ia-to-Alter.htm

#7 Grk101

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 02:38 AM

Here is another summary on the media situation in Greece, to complement the first post by HellasHab.

QUOTE

Νέος χάρτης και στην TV

Μαζί με τον πολιτικό χάρτη, αλλάζει και εκείνος των ΜΜΕ. Οι πρώτες αλλαγές αποτυπώνονται στην τηλεόραση. Από το Alter ως τον Alpha και  από το Star  ως την ΕΡΤ τίποτα δεν θεωρείται σίγουρο,  παρά μόνο η περαιτέρω συρρίκνωση της διαφημιστικής αγοράς.

Βαρόμετρο των εξελίξεων είναι  η τύχη του καναλιού του Μπουρναζίου και οι επιλογές που θα κάνει στη συνέχεια  ο Νίκος Χατζηνικολάου, εκδότης της Real News , μέτοχος του Real FM και σταθερή αξία στις ειδήσεις. Ο ίδιος αφήνει να εννοηθεί πως θα περιμένει το Alter ως τις αρχές του Νέου Έτους,  όμως έχει προτάσεις από τον ΑΝΤ1, το Σκάι και τον Alpha.  Η μετακίνηση του, θα αλλάξει και τη μάχη στα δελτία ειδήσεων.

Στον τηλεοπτικό σταθμό της Κάντζας οι συζητήσεις κορυφώνονται και εντός των ημερών το RTL  που ως σήμερα έχει και την πλειοψηφία των μετοχών, θα λάβει, όπως όλα δείχνουν, τις τελικές του αποφάσεις για τον Alpha.   Στο Star γίνεται λόγος για την ανάγκη μειώσεων των αποδοχών των εργαζομένων και δηλώνεται από  τη διοίκηση πως στόχος είναι το κανάλι να συνεχίσει να λειτουργεί και πως οι μέτοχοί του έχουν στηρίξει την εταιρεία με περισσότερα από 30 εκατ. ευρώ.

Στο Mega δεν έχουν ληφθεί οι τελικές αποφάσεις, αν δηλαδή το κανάλι θα προχωρήσει σε αύξηση του μετοχικού κεφαλαίου ή και σε νέες  περικοπές, όμως τα σενάρια της συγχώνευσης με το  Star είναι ενεργά. Ο Σκάι την ίδια ώρα επιχειρεί νέες περικοπές στις αποδοχές των εργαζομένων (-19% σε σχέση με το 2010) δηλώνοντας όμως πως θα εγγυηθεί γραπτώς, πως δεν θα κάνει απολύσεις για “οικονομικούς λόγους”.  Ο ΑΝΤ1 εμφανίζεται πιο ψύχραιμος ίσως εξαιτίας των περίπου 620 εκατ, ευρώ που έλαβε προ 3ετίας από την πώληση της Nova Televizia  στη Βουλγαρία.


http://media-industr...2011/12/tv.html

Edited by Grk101, 11 December 2011 - 02:50 AM.


#8 gyros

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 07:40 PM

Not looking good. The programming is already awful just wait until next year. Nobody is going to pay to see ice skating with the stars.

#9 HellasHab

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:11 PM

It looks like the Germans are staying put... for now. They have apparently decided to stay on as owners until the end of the current TV season at which point they will be handing over control to minority shareholder and former owner Dimitris Kontominas. Until then the channel will operate on a reduced budget which means the schedule will probably be filled with cheap foreign stuff with only a few original shows.

Οι Γερμανοί μένουν στον Alpha για 3 χρόνια

#10 HellasHab

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:32 PM

QUOTE (gyros @ Dec 13 2011, 07:40 PM)
Not looking good.  The programming is already awful just wait until next year.  Nobody is going to pay to see ice skating with the stars.

What, you mean you are not enjoying Antenna Satellite and their lineup of great shows?! cool.gif These guys are stinking up the joint with their crapfest, nothing but cheap reality junk- I cannot believe people actually enjoy watching some of this stuff they air?! Antenna are the only ones who appear to be on somewhat stable financial footing, yet they have chosen to go the el cheapo route and produce nothing but cheap filler programming. How about some decent game shows, they are cheap to produce- why do they have to fill their schedule with dumb reality shows?!

Us poor saps in North America & Australia have to pay good money to subscribe to Antenna sat, the least they could do is create some good programming for their international channel. Oh wait I forgot we get to watch the same 5 movies over and over again, old TV series from their glory days which have been repeated 20-30 times each and of course Super League soccer with their fixed matches. rolleyes.gif

I wish I could get MEGA, unfortunately my provider only carries Odyssey with their stupid ANT1 programming. MEGA appears to have a more balanced schedule with different types of shows instead of wall to wall reality junk that Antenna airs.

#11 likos

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:31 AM

QUOTE (HellasHab @ Dec 13 2011, 11:32 PM)
What, you mean you are not enjoying Antenna Satellite and their lineup of great shows?! cool.gif These guys are stinking up the joint with their crapfest, nothing but cheap reality junk- I cannot believe people actually enjoy watching some of this stuff they air?! Antenna are the only ones who appear to be on somewhat stable financial footing, yet they have chosen to go the el cheapo route and produce nothing but cheap filler programming. How about some decent game shows, they are cheap to produce- why do they have to fill their schedule with dumb reality shows?!

Us poor saps in North America & Australia have to pay good money to subscribe to Antenna sat, the least they could do is create some good programming for their international channel. Oh wait I forgot we get to watch the same 5 movies over and over again, old TV series from their glory days which have been repeated 20-30 times each and of course Super League soccer with their fixed matches. rolleyes.gif

I wish I could get MEGA, unfortunately my provider only carries Odyssey with their stupid ANT1 programming. MEGA appears to have a more balanced schedule with different types of shows instead of wall to wall reality junk that Antenna airs.

ANTENNA is the more robust channel financially because they are going with demographics rather than general audiences like MEGA and ALPHA do. Game shows would not be that much cheaper to produce than dancing on ice, and the audience would be more 50+ which is not desirable. For me the issue is not dancing on ice but how much reality ANTENNA has, like FAB 5 and BLACK OUT and what not. Whatever market there is for them they are bound to exhaust with overexposure and then they will also start going in the red. Their new marathon morning show is also a huge mistake.

Cheaper costs and demographics are also why ANTENNA started the turkish shows in Greece, and then MEGA followed though they used to swear they are such a high quality channel they never would. Given MEGA's current financial situation, once their sapoynia finish their runs (ZOI TIS ALLIS, MYSTIKA TIS EDEM) they will continue with more turkish soaps and crap like PATTY. I think if/when more channels close shop and the market is left with fewer entities sharing the ad pie, we may see an improvement in the big two channels' lineups, but until then it is downhill.


#12 HellasHab

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 11:07 AM

QUOTE
Game shows would not be that much cheaper to produce than dancing on ice, and the audience would be more 50+ which is not desirable.


What I was alluding to is that gameshows, like the reality crap. are cheaper to produce than serials.

I am sick and tired of this demographic crap, what are older folk supposed to watch if everything is being geared towards 15-16 yr. olds?! I am in the 30+ demo and detest these shows they are airing so obviously this 18-44 demo is wrong, it should be more like 15-25.

They are taking the wrong approach IMO by airing the same programming on both their domestic channel and international services as the audiences are NOT the same. If I am not mistaken most of the omogenia viewing audience consists of people 40 and up, not teenagers, therefore the programming should reflect the tastes of this demo. I think its time that they separate their international channels from the domestic one and create a separate programming schedule for ANT1 Satellite & ANT1 Pacific instead of just airing the same crap that they air on Antenna in Greece. They should use the high subscription fees they collect from us (this channel is worth 5 bucks not $15 that I pay) to create some better programming like a serial or two designed specifically for the omogenia and in the process help put some unemployed actors and technicians back to work.

#13 HellasHab

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 11:28 AM

QUOTE
I think the TV landscape is but a microcosm of Greece and its lawlessness. Many years ago (late 80s) a study from Italian and British media groups had concluded that the Greek market can sustain a total of 5 channels, including the state ones, given its population size.


Sounds like Greece is a free for all where anything goes?! I agree with the report, there is no need for tons of TV channels (or radio stations & newspapers for that matter) in a country of Greece's size.

QUOTE
Of course the studies had not predicted cowboy-style kidnapping of frequencies, operating without a license, not paying fees to the state, and the wonderful phenomenon of diaplekomena, where Bobolas etc finance unprofitable media so that they have political clout and blackmail governments into getting big budget construction projects (from metro to bridges to what not).


This explains why every TV station and newspaper in Greece is affiliated with some political party, I always wondered what the deal was with that?! I guess there is no impartial media in Greece then, everything is connected to someone or something?! I noticed even the sports papers are affiliated with a specific soccer team- what a sad state of affairs.

It will be interesting to see what these media tycoons will do now that the economic landscape in Greece has changed dramatically and they start to lose their 'influence' over the government in power?! Will they start shutting down stations & newspapers, merge together with other companies or will they continue with the status quo?! So far I see a lot of talk and very few actual changes occurring which indicates that things will stay relatively the same.

#14 gang3171

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:01 PM

Forget how many tv stations there are. I've always wondered why 1 city (Athens) publishes so many newspapers. Who the heck reads them all? Here in the states, most cities have 1-2 major newspapers, in a country of 300+ million vs. Greece w/ only 10-11 million habs. It baffles me that all these Greek newspapers are still in business!

#15 Grk101

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:16 PM

QUOTE (likos @ Dec 14 2011, 12:31 AM)

ANTENNA is the more robust channel financially because they are going with demographics rather than general audiences like MEGA and ALPHA do.


ANT1 is the most robust channel financially currently because of their group's investments and sell offs around Europe. For example they are currently sitting on ?620 million from their sale of Nova Televizia in Bulgaria. Sure they cut their costs for the channel which helps, but if they did not have those investments to bank on they would be in the same boat as the rest of the channels. In fact the one article I posted seems to allude to the fact that they have some difficulties coming up: "Από την άλλη πλευρά ο ΑΝΤ1 ψάχνει να βρει τον βηματισμό του με πολλά φυσικά οικονομικά προβλήματα και οικονομικές υποχρεώσεις οι οποίες δεν μπορούν να περιμένουν για πολύ."

QUOTE (likos @ Dec 14 2011, 12:31 AM)
Given MEGA's current financial situation, once their sapoynia finish their runs (ZOI TIS ALLIS, MYSTIKA TIS EDEM) they will continue with more turkish soaps and crap like PATTY. I think if/when more channels close shop and the market is left with fewer entities sharing the ad pie, we may see an improvement in the big two channels' lineups, but until then it is downhill.

They already have Greek replacements lined up for when they finish. One of them already started after "Ta Mistika Tis Edem" finished recently. Now the probable quality of them given the crisis and their problems is a different story. I do agree with you that programing would improve overall if there were fewer channels on air.

QUOTE (gang3171 @ Dec 14 2011, 12:01 PM)
Forget how many tv stations there are.  I've always wondered why 1 city (Athens) publishes so many newspapers.  Who the heck reads them all?  Here in the states, most cities have 1-2 major newspapers, in a country of 300+ million vs. Greece w/ only 10-11 million habs.  It baffles me that all these Greek newspapers are still in business!

That is a good point. I have read that a number of newspapers are starting to shut down now.

Edited by Grk101, 14 December 2011 - 12:24 PM.


#16 likos

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:27 PM

QUOTE (Grk101 @ Dec 14 2011, 12:16 PM)
ANT1 is the most robust channel financially currently because of their group's investments and sell offs around Europe. For example they are currently sitting on ?620 million from their sale of Nova Televizia in Bulgaria.

I know the article you quote mentioned that, but I also remember reading that ANTENNA itself is still profitable (because of serious cost-cutting) unlike MEGA which is now losing money for the first time since it started broadcasting. I think MEGA will soon reduce the number of hours broadcasting, following ALPHA's example. They may pull out of the morning zone which would help their finances.

#17 likos

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:31 PM

QUOTE (HellasHab @ Dec 14 2011, 11:28 AM)
It will be interesting to see what these media tycoons will do now that the economic landscape in Greece has changed dramatically and they start to lose their 'influence' over the government in power?!  Will they start shutting down stations & newspapers, merge together with other companies or will they continue with the status quo?!  So far I see a lot of talk and very few actual changes occurring which indicates that things will stay relatively the same.

Lots of newspapers are already shutting down or are in the process. I think the landscape may clear some in the next few years.

As for the demos question, it is possible to ignore demos and go after a general audience. CBS does it in the US--they are #1 in overall population though not demos, and they are still financially fine. But the US is a 300 million market with more or less a handful of national broadcasters going after free-to-air advertising bucks (big 4, PBS, CW, maybe myTV, and the hispanic ones). Greece is an 11 million market with just as many national broadcasters. Obviously one of the two countries is following a wrong model. smile.gif

#18 Grk101

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:24 PM

It is pretty tough to follow the situation with Greek media news, as it seems a lot of articles that are published contradict each other with their "exclusive sources".

That being said, it seems there is a new proposal from Mr. Kouris for voluntary layoffs at Alter. http://www.star.gr/media/122807/

#19 HellasHab

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 06:28 PM

It appears as though Alpha TV is up for sale... again!

Kontominas has apparently put the station up for sale and is asking 50 million. I wonder if this was his plan all along, buy back the channel from the Germans then turn around and sell it to someone else and make a nice profit in the process?! I wonder who would be interested in buying this channel and at that high price now that Greece is in the middle of a major economic depression?!

Φεύγει (ξανά) ο Κοντομηνάς απ'τον Alpha?

#20 Grk101

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:24 PM

That's interesting if true. Kontominas really made out with the Alpha deal, selling it high to the Germans and buying it back low. I'm not sure how attractive a television channel in Greece is right now though.




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