Humor is, it’s been said, the best medicine. When events of the day are filled with gravity, momentary release can be found in a good joke. Some disagree; painfully, sometimes tragically, obvious.
The Broadcasting Council of Norwegian public broadcaster NRK brought down the house, so to speak, in its response to complaints about the P2 radio satirical program Salongen. In the great tradition of this genre, the show’s cast have a regular rip at folks taking themselves far to seriously. P2 is NRK’s national culture radio channel. The show appears irregularly, usually in the late evening. There’s a podcast. (See more about media in Norway here)
The politically appointed - and functionally powerless - NRK Broadcasting Council meeting late last week recommended the broadcaster create equivalent satirical programming from a right-wing point of view. “The NRK is one of the few players in Norway with the skills and resources to build up a satire program from the right-wing stand point,” said the council statement, quoted by journalisten.no (November 26). “By trying to build such a thing, NRK can give an important contribution to greater diversity of humor in Norway.”
Norwegian comedians, appropriately, had a go at this. “As a professional comedy writer for 25 years, I have often called for fun right-wing comedians,” said satirist Dagfinn Nordbø. “Now I’ve finally found them - in the Broadcasting Council. Their last meeting was the best humor of the year.”
From Last Weeks ftm Tickle File
French research institute Médiamétrie released this week September-October radio audience estimates for the Il-de-France (IDF - Greater Paris) - region finding, once again, listener preferences in Paris a bit different. In the national audience estimates for the same period, released a week earlier, some broadcasters got good news, some not so good and the rest not at all. (See France national radio overview here) For national broadcasters there were big gains and big losses. For local Paris broadcasters the results were uniformly tepid.
National general interest channels RTL, France Inter, Europe 1 and RMC again took the first four places, in order. The audience share for RTL dropped to 13.2% from 14.3%, year on year. Public channel France Inter, as in the national audience estimates, increased audience share to a rather audacious 13.0% from 10.1%, the channel’s best showing in, like, forever. Europe 1 and RMC were both lower, 8.8% and 6.9% respectively. (See September-October 2015 IDF trend chart here)
Rap and hip-hop Skyrock kicked into 5th place with 5.0% audience share, seriously higher than 3.8% one year on. It’s Skyrock’s best showing in four years. National hit music channel NRJ was up more modestly for 6th place, 4.7% audience share from 4.3%. Seventh in the IDF rankings was public all-news channel France Info, struggling with a variety of changes, 4.2% audience share from 5.2%. Radio Classique, France Culture and Cherie FM round out the top 10, all up, France Culture and Cherie FM rather significantly.
Local Paris stations appear to have been crowded out by national channels. The aggregated audience share for local stations dropped to 16.5% from 18.3% year on year. Radio Latina led the category, again, with 2.6%, up slightly. Oui FM, Ado FM and TSF Jazz showed gains while public station FIP, Generations and Radio Nova dropped. Chante France reappeared but Tropiques FM failed to meet the minimum required for listing.
Christmas Radio returns to Finland this weekend for its 13th season. With a network of FM stations across the country Jouluradio operates all Christmas music, all the time from the first Sunday in Advent until January 6th. According to Finnish tradition the secret workshop of Father Christmas is in the far north, where the reindeer live.
In addition to the Jouluradio channel, a mainstream mix of holiday favorites, organizers offer seven online channels with variations on the Christmas theme: one with Finnish Christmas songs, Nordic music Julradion, Estonian language Jouluraadio, English language channel Xmas, a classical music channel, a children’s channel and, last but not least, a Christmas rock music channel Rouhea joulu.
All channels can be heard worldwide on the jouluradio.fi website and the streaming audio service radiot.fi. Jouluradio is commercial-free and supported by Lutheran parishes in Finland.
Norwegian daily newspaper Ekstra Bladets is offering its own online Christmas music channel, Juleradio, through the first of the new year. Sweden’s public broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) began all Christmas music this week via online channel P4 Bjällerklang.
Consumer behavior insight has long been of interest to the media sphere, never more than in times of change and the resulting stress. Fortunately, researchers stand at the ready to satisfy that hunger with tasty morsels. The recently released Global Generational Lifestyles report from big research house Nielsen shows, for example, somethings change and somethings stay the same as people get older.
In the European subset of the global study, conducted online last spring, younger and older folks diverge quite dramatically on playing video games. One in five 15 to 20 year olds occupy spare time with video games compared with one in 50 folks over 65 years, hardly unexpected. In the global universe, 60 countries, leisure time preferences for the youngest are topped by listening to music, the oldest travel, gardening and reading books. (See Nielsen presser here)
Preference for social media as a news source also appears age dependent, decreasing, whereas traditional media - TV, radio, print newspaper - as a news source preference increases with age. Accessing search engine news sites and online newspapers is rather consistent across age groups in the European subset. Meal-time without technology - TV, smartphones and everything in between - is most rare among those between 50 and 65 years (41%), increasing among those 65 and older to 52%.
Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones, subsidiary of News Corporation, entered the French media market for the first time, investing €2 million for roughly a 10% stake in the diminutive daily newspaper L’Opinion. The “liberal, pro-business, pro-Europe” publication was founded two and a half years ago by former Les Echos and Le Figaro editor Nicolas Beytout. There were the expected warm words from both parties about synergies.
“This gives us a bit of status,” said M.Beytout, quoted by Le Monde (November 24). “We are no longer just a small Franco-French thing. We have the recognition of an international actor.” L’Opinion has a staff of about 40, mostly on the editorial side. Its website is “strictly” behind a paywall. (See more about media in France here)
“This investment will amplify our international ambitions and extend our digital reach in the heart of Europe, providing robust digital opportunities to the benefit of both Dow Jones and L’Opinion elite customers,” said Dow Jones CEO William Lewis, in a statement. “We are delighted to help support the important work they do in the great country of France and beyond.” There’s a five-year licensing agreement that includes content sharing and marketing support. L’Opinion content will be available on Dow Jones information portal Factiva.
“We are in the same sphere of ideas: a generally liberal corpus, even though they are slightly less pro-European,” said M.Beytout. (See more about News Corporation here)
Where the “liberal corpus” is not appreciated, Dow Jones and Financial Times publisher Pearson have agreed to exit shareholdings in Russian business publication Vedomosti, announced later last week. Finnish media house Sanoma sold its one-third stake several weeks ago to former Kommersant publisher Demyan Kudryautsev, who picks up the stakes ahead of Russian laws limiting foreign ownership coming to effect. Mr. Kudryautsev also acquired English-language Moscow Times. Editors at both publications have recently exited. (See more about media in Russia here)
In the transaction agreement, reported rbc.ru (November 23), Mr. Kudryavtsev and his company assumes accrued company debt. A licensing agreement allows content sharing and limited use of the Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times brand names, though no longer displayed as “publishers.” Should Mr. Kudryavtsev decide to off-load Vedomosti to another party Dow Jones and Pearson will have certain approval rights.
Mr. Kudryautsev’s tenure with Kommersant coincided with the newspaper’s ownership by the late Boris Berezovsky, who fell afoul of Russian authorities. Rupert Murdoch was also a business partner of Mr. Berezovsky, owning several Russian radio stations, divested long ago. Associated with Mr. Kudryautsev’s transaction with Sanoma for its Vedomosti holdings is Martin Pompadur, once head of News Corporation’s Eastern and Central European businesses. In the new company owning Vedomosti Mr. Pompadur is a board member.
Public broadcasters tilt over contest selection
no business like show business
In six months the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) will be held in Stockholm, Sweden. R’n’B singer Xavier Naidoo will not be participating, circumstances prompting much tittering (and Twittering) in Germany. Regional public broadcaster NDR (Norddeutsche Rundfunk), charged with selecting the next German contestant, named Mr. Naidoo last week then did a backflip two days later.
Famous in Germany for huge hit tunes, including the 2006 football World Cup theme song, Mr.Naidoo’s initial selection seemed to give a boost to ESC 2016 prospects. The German contestant placed last - dead last, zero points - in the 2015 edition. The ESC, with millions of viewers, is something of a badge of courage for public broadcasters. Winning and succeeding to host the next event carries both marketable acclaim and huge expense. In the court of public opinion - always led by media critics - losing is unforgivable. German singer Lena won the 2010 ESC. (See more about the Eurovision Song Contest here)
But Mr.Naidoo came with certain baggage, from homophobic and anti-Semitic song lyrics to association with the far-right Reichsbürger movement. "It was clear that his nomination would polarise opinions,” said NDR entertainment director and public TV network ARD entertainment coordinator Thomas Schreiber, “but the ferocity of the reaction took us by surprise. We misjudged.” (See more about media in Germany here)
NDR chose Mr. Naidoo without the usual nationwide telecast and traditional tele-voting. “We are working now on how the German contestant for the ESC will be found,” said NDR spokesperson Martin Gartzk, quoted by meedia.de (November 23). NDR has picked the German ESC contestant since 1996. ARD has distanced itself from NDR, if not the hubbub, program director Volker Herres saying he would have preferred having the selection “routed” first through ARD channels.