Hot Topic - Hungary Media
Owning and operating a media organization is a tough slog in the digital age. There have been dropouts despite the alluring promise of fame, fortune and show business. For every one seeking escape new media operators spring up, plenty of them. Not all have the same aspirations. And we know who they are.
Control, having it or losing it, carries great symbolism. The art of communicating symbols is quite powerful. Broadcasters and publishers have practiced this art, sometimes for making money and sometimes for other reasons, for so long it seems innate. To their enduring frustration, politicians, especially the most authoritarian, confuse control with its symbols. Media people never walk backwards.
Opportunity and cash are charting the ebb and flow of recent media transactions. With most developed markets, strategic investors are buyers and financial investors are sellers as valuations continue to rise. In developing markets, media asset values have plummeted to historic low levels, changing the equation. Speculators are having a field day.
Broadcast licensing, for some, is a license to make money. Broadcasters have long railed against so called beauty contests for new or renewal concessions with onerous public service commitments plus technical and even financial requirements. Some regulators have agreed to make it simple and hold auctions. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.
Broadcasters often view media regulators as slightly less interesting than accountants. Always quoting the rulebook does not make good cocktail conversation. But these oracles of law and order can have a creative side… in a manner of speaking.
In the blink of the eye, we’re in 2012. Little has changed across the threshold except the calendar. Despots continue to push on media. But there’s always an election coming. “Every nation,” we’ve heard, “gets the government it deserves.”
Media watchers can wail and moan all day and all night. Once a political strongman decides to slam the door on independent media there’s little anyone can do. It’s “regrettable.”
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