Hot Topic - Media in Norway
Media people continue searching for that oft promised digital dividend. So far, the major beneficiaries have been techies, telecoms and, of course, investment bankers. In the real world the difference between analogue euros and digital pennies is well understood. There is, though, a digital strategy.
The concept of community in the online age has been a tough one for traditional media to grasp. Itís odd because community has long been the crux of mediaís relationship with the public. But community thrives in the online world, sometimes rowdy, profane and, as weíve seen, terrible.
The Eurovision Song Contest may be a bit cheesy but it ainít cheap. For public broadcasters hosting the ESC is an opportunity to step into an international spotlight and show what they can do with a high profile musical event. For those facing budget pressures, the ESC is a challenge, and increasingly so.
Few, if any, media companies are escaping the ad slump. Directors and stock traders are showing little patience. Cut costs, dump non-core investments and change the CEO, they say.
Multi-national publisher Mecom Group has become the most recent poster child for debt rattled publicly traded media companies. Once Ė and not long ago Ė the darling of rapturous financial projections it now canít meet debt covenants exceeding Ä600 million, a figure that has increased more than ten-fold since the rapture. Media companies are becoming sub-prime, er, toxic.
Broadcasters have enough to worry about without confusion over regulation. When governments and regulators donít agree on rules, the principle of legal certainty flies out the window. Without that nobody wants to take on the risks.
Norway isnít particularly flat, in that geographical sense. But a clear flattening of media shares is taking place. Market shares for major newspapers, terrestrial TV and radio have been flattening as new offerings take from market leaders. Now, even the Web is flattening.
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