- a knowledge base for media professionals
New This Week

Hot topics click link for more

Search / Email Story / Print Page /
Username: Password:
forgot your password?
If you have never registered for ftm
please click here
The Tickle File
short takes on daily media news

Efficiencies expected, manager fired for not writing himself out of a job
less is always less

Public broadcast managers find themselves under extraordinary pressures these days to fit the programming foot into the ever shrinking financial shoe. Style is rarely an impediment to the demands of boards of directors, typically demanding more for less. Of course, appearances are everything.

The head of programs at Bulgarian public radio BNR - Ivo Todorov - was given a rather crude ultimatum this week to either agree to a change in job description requiring the holder of his position to have a degree in public administration or leave, reported (July 1). Mr. Todorov’s degree is in philosophy and journalism so, obviously, he left. He had been warned not to let staff cuts to affect BNR’s program output. (See more about media in Bulgaria here)

It seems efficiencies demanded by the BNR board include getting rid of that particular position. Program directors of the three main radio services, the multimedia service and the music operation will rotate as head of a “program council,” changing every three months. Staff changes at BNR have been numerous in recent months and some fear other “troublemakers” will be shown the door.

Not entirely coincidental media regulator CEM president Georgi Lozanov threatened to quit. “We still have no legal basis to intervene in the crisis in the Bulgarian National Radio, but then see what happens?” he said.

New box tests measurement mystery
data can be enhanced

Radio measurement hasn’t made much news over the last decade or so. The audible drum-beat “the future - ta-boom - is digital” broadcasters in several European markets switched from pen-and-paper diaries to electronic devices. Some - UK broadcasters, for example - held-fast against pervasive marketing from US measurement service Arbitron, patent holder of the Personal People Meter (PPM), which measures listening from inaudible signals encoded in FM transmissions.

Arbitron became the default US radio measurement supplier and switched from diaries in 2008. Something rather interesting happened, reports data journalism portal (June 30). Since 2008 average minutes listening to radio in the US dropped about 20%. Some radio formats - focuses on smooth jazz - absolutely crashed. Big measurement company Nielsen bought Arbitron in 2013. (See more about radio measurement here)

Testing the hypothesis that PPM measurement accurately tracks listening to all radio formats is a new black box - silver, actually - called Voltair. It seems to enhance the encoded measurement signal sort of like the old Optimod modulation box. The result, says, “is testing Nielsen’s credibility.”

US radio broadcasters are lining up for the Voltair box at US$15,000 each. Nielsen’s Canadian subsidiary Numeris asked Canadian radio broadcasters to stop using it.

Public broadcasters cautious after Olympic rights deal
“raises questions”

There has been a certain inevitably to the vast reconfiguration of the television business. As media buyers found their digital dividend in online media’s low ad rates subscription services - once referred to as pay-TV - have found treasure in premium content. This leaves free-to-air broadcasters fewer and, arguably, unpleasant options. The winners - all business is about winners and, well, the rest - read the tea-leaves and, most importantly, placed their bets with cash.

Discovery Communications and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this week the biggest single rights deal in the history of the Olympic Games. For a mere €1.3 billion Eurosport, owned by Discovery, acquired broadcast, internet and mobile rights to the four Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024 “in all languages across 50 countries and territories on the European continent,” said the official statement. Russia is not included and neither are rights deals previously sold to French public TV and the BBC. Discovery Communications will “assist” the IOC in developing an Olympic TV channel to keep alive “the thrill of victory and agony of defeat” during those long months between Games.

In several European countries the Olympic Games are designated major events to be offered free-to-air by law. “Discovery will sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe,” said its statement. At a minimum that means 200 hours from Summer Games and 100 hours from Winter Games. In reality Discovery, likely not paying from cash reserves, plans on financing it all by selling off national rights beyond markets where Eurosport does not offer free-to-air channels. (See more about sports and media here)

Cautious has been the response from broadcasters that have produced and carried Olympic Games coverage for decades. Irish public broadcaster RTE, which has rights to the Rio 2016 Summer Games, “remains optimistic that a solution will be found,” said a spokesperson quoted by (June 29). “We will be seeking further discussions with Discovery about the UK free-to-air rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games in due course.” said a BBC statement.

German public TV networks ARD and ZDF “accept the IOC’s decision,” said their terse statement. “The IOC’s press release is not clear which rights are granted for the German television market. This raises questions for the IOC and the DOSB (German Olympic Sports Confederation).” ARD and ZDF had, said the statement, “made a reasonable offer.” Eurosport offers both free-to-air and pay channels in Germany.

In 2012 Discovery Communications acquired a 20% stake in Eurosport from French broadcaster TF1, raising its stake to 51% this year as well as 100% of Eurosport France.

TV rises when news is not good
marathon coverage

Greek news media went into overdrive this past weekend with major television channels reporting on and talking about the political and economic crisis hours on end. On Saturday and into early Sunday Mega TV broadcast “marathon” coverage. According to the Nielsen dailies, quoted by ToVima (June 29), Mega TV’s coverage reached 19.1%, followed by SKAI at 12.3% and the newly reinstated ERT1 with 11.7%.

Mega TV is offering a nightly live talk show all this week - Zero Hour Greece - “a lively debate with politicians and citizens,” said the press release. ERT1 seems to be getting first shot at live interviews with major actors in the crisis. New public digital channel ERT3 launched with “extraordinary news broadcasts” and cancelled a previously scheduled live concert. (See more about media in Greece here)

Most Greeks follow news via the major TV channels and virtually all are offering news marathons.
Participting as best it can, it seems, financially strapped Antenna 1 (ANT1), which began laying off staff last Friday, reported (June 29). First to go were PR executives. By Monday the station was broadcasting only re-runs. About 100 employees are expected to be set free for the summer, at the very least.

From Last Weeks ftm Tickle File

More ads coming to that phone in your pocket
reach out and touch

Very quickly television has become two separate realms; IP and non-IP delivered. For a couple of years TV’s faced the linear/non-linear divide. Before that, traditional and new. More than just the language has changed.

To help celebrate the Cannes advertising festival, media buyer ZenithOptimedia released this week a forecast of ad spending in 12 major countries. The results all point the same direction: advertising is filling up the internet space as quickly as it can. By 2017, they predict, internet advertising globally will lag TV by a mere 4%. After that, TV advertising as we’ve known it will slide to second place.

“The internet is quickly establishing itself as the dominant advertising medium, and on current trends will overtake television by the end of the decade," said ZenithOptimedia CEO Steve King in a statement. “The spread of internet devices and new advertising technology will give advertisers new opportunities to communicate with and learn from consumers, and to do so more effectively than ever before.” Ah, yes; media buyers are addicted to the data only internet and mobile technologies can provide. (See more about ad spending here)

Mobile advertising, of course, is every ad person’s dream. By 2017 ad spending on smartphones and such, predicts ZO, will represent 70% of global ad spending growth, to 12.9% of ad spending from 5.1% in 2014. Both ZO and Magna Global (Interpublic) this week reduced global ad spending forecasts for this year due to a lack of big-draw events.

“2015 is a tipping point in the long-term shift from traditional to digital media,” said Magna Global lead forecaster Vincent Letang, quoted by MediaPost (June 22). “Last year’s global advertising growth was the combination of digital media growing while traditional media revenues were essentially flat. This year, traditional media ad revenues will decrease globally for the first time since the 2008-2009 recession, as the low growth of television and out-of-home ad sales will no longer offset the fast decline of print, challenged by a diversified family of digital media categories Beyond the slowdown caused by the absence of global events in 2015, we believe digital media has reached a stage where it starts to compete more directly with traditional TV budgets.”

Previous weeks complete Tickle File

Week of June 29 2015

In Write On

Mind The Cookie - Trade Secrets Are Recipes Until Leaked
cookie recipe Secrets are the stock in trade of investigative journalism, loosely defined. From juicy details of celebrities and politicians carrying-on to the rough entanglement of stuff some folks would rather the whole world just didn’t know there is hunger and thirst with all the desire a clever headline can raise. Click-bait is this century’s pop-art.


In Spots & Space

All Very Unconventional From The Sound Of It
The Berlin Wall of Sound The creative side of advertising thrives on the edge. On one side is all the excitement digital media affords. On the other, it’s the workhorse of traditional media. Big ideas must fit both. And those ideas can come from anywhere.



Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in All Things Digital

Not Playing By The Rules As A Way Of Life
cat umbrella A little disruption in life is a good thing. That unexpected rain shower might cancel the picnic but the unpredictable has benefits. Being quick afoot helps, except in a flood. Then pure terror seizes the mind. What shall we do?





Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in Sports & Media

No Efficiencies Found In Sports Broadcasting, Only A Deep Hole
bucket brain European public broadcasters once held a distinct advantage in sports broadcasting, largely from generous staffing and advantageous sports rights contracts. Those days are fading fast. Pay-TV operators and telecoms have roared into sports broadcasting with buckets of money.


new ftm Knowledge

Europe's Radio - Southern Europe – new

Radio broadcasting in southern Europe ranges from highly developed to developing highly. Italian, Spanish and Portuguese radio is unique, creative and very popular. Radio in Croatia, Serbia and Greece has had ups and downs. The ftm Knowledge file includes Resources. 126 pages PDF (June 2015)

Order here

Google Is... Still

Google's leaders say their goal is to change the world. And they have. Far more than a search engine, Google has impact over every media sector and beyond, from consumer behavior to broadcasting and advertising to newspapers. That impact is detailed in this ftm Knowledge file. 116 pages PDF (April 2015)

Order here

The Curtain Falls - Media Rises

This updated set of essays focuses on the dramatic changes in Europe's media that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain thereafter; Germany in 1989, new media rules,transition of State broadcasting to public broadcasting, refocus for international broadcasting, the rise of commercial broadcasting and the importance of youth culture. PDF (December 2014)

Order here

Media in the Baltics - New World Order

By the time Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the European Union they were known as the Baltic Tigers. The media sector grew spectacularly with big multi-nationals investing. Times have changed. This ftm Knowledge file reports the changes, new opportunities and lingering ghosts. 63 pages PDF (October 2014)

Order here

Become an ftm Individual or Corporate Member and order Knowledge files at no charge. JOIN HERE!

ftm Knowledge files are available to non-Members at €49 each.

new ftm Resources

...more Resources...



Inside ftm

Who reads ftm?
Financial institutions, European institutions and NGOs, media companies (public and private), the digital world, news agencies, regulators, educational institutions, measurement services and, of course, the advertising people are on the list of ftm subscribers, Members and sponsors. Are you?


Get noticed with ftm !!

Add ftm content to your website, newsletter or publication. Lift your next meeting or conference with ftm documents or presentations. Click here for details.
For reprint or republishing needs or questions, please contact us.

ftm Members LinkedIn Group

ftm Members can now join the FollowTheMedia LinkedIn Group and discover a broad array of new features for expanding your own network. LinkedIn is without question the world’s premiere web-based professional networking platform.

Visit this link to JOIN ftm or contact us by email

ftm Radio Page NEW

Friday June 26, 2015
radio in Italy, Gruppo Finelco, RCS Media, Radio 105, Radio Monte Carlo, Virgin Radio

Recently in ftm...

In Media Rules & Rulers

under bridgeCourt Chases Anonymous Trolls Back Under Bridge



What Is What And When It's Not

Everybody Has An Idea, Money Harder To Find


In All Things Digital

oh, it isThe Message Is Money And It All Sounds Cool




Brand Building Is A Strategy, Extracting Profits A Tactic

Digital Future Just A Shout Away


In Big Business

old fax machine


It’s Still About Getting The Message On The Head Of a Pin



Always Another Game To Play

High Drama, Big Budgets And Millennial Shift


In Show Biz

is it live?


Absolutely Live And Right Now





Were You One Of The Few Who Didn't Watch THE Wedding?

April 29, 2011, Westminster Abbey! Oh, What A Royal Media Circus For The Next Five Months And Beyond

In The Numbers

good question


Scaring Them Away Does Just That



They Have To Hear It To Turn It Up

Getting To Know Where People Live Is No Mean Feat


In Lingua Franca

digital culture


Digital Culture Always Online And Always in A Hurry




Politician Attacks “Crazy Loopholes”

Languages Carry Messages, Media Holds Its Breath


In The Public Service



Separating Progress From Horizontal Motion





Young People Need A Media Tradition

Reform Bogged Down, Experts Called


In Write On

sky camera


Big Stories Always Upset Somebody. It's Great!!





Bad Times For Reporters Only Gets Worse

Terms Of Reference And Difference


In Sports & Media



TV Sports Defies Gravity, Heat And Friction



No Efficiencies Found In Sports Broadcasting, Only A Deep Hole

Sports Rights In The Material World


In Brands and Branding

the envelopeIf Viewers Aren't Excited The Rest Doesn't Matter


Box Opened, Tentacles Appear, Everybody’s Entertained

Games Changers And Media Killers


In Reaching Out

Christiane AmanpourOld Waves Across Borders Fade – New Waves Rise



Market Development Struggles Between Waiting And Wanting

More Internet, More Information; Some Good, Some Not


In Spots & Space

beer ad


Ads Off, Except For Beer; Reality Conditional



Listen To This Algorithm

New And Exciting Attention-Getting Opportunities


In Fit To Print

not happy


Being The Boss Is No Picnic




Less Is More Not A Media-Tech Concept

New Ideas For Better Or Worse



ftm newsletters

ftm newsletters update leading media news twice monthly.
Sign-up here

copyright ©2004-2015 ftm partners, unless otherwise noted

Contact UsSponsor ftm