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The Tickle File is ftm's daily column of media news, complimenting the feature articles on major media issues. Tickle File items point out media happenings, from the oh-so serious to the not-so serious, that should not escape a shorter, more informal format.

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Week of January 15, 2018

Alternative to measurement reality questioned
"another big problem"

Every audience measurement supplier knows how broadcasters customarily react to ratings. When the numbers are up, credit the superb programming; when down, blame the measurement. Media buyers and their clients are wary of reinventing the wheel.

Details have been shared, sparse though they are, about the news television audience measurement system touted by state-broadcaster Telewizja Polska (TVP). The new system, intended to compete with Nielsen’s measurement, offers a larger sample size and quicker results reporting, “only a one minute delay,” said TVP president Jacek Kurski, quoted by Business Insider Polska (January 10). Household data is collected from the set-top boxes provided by Netia, a Polish telecom operator and internet
provider, then crunched with an algorithm developed at the Warsaw School of Economics. (See more about media in Poland here)

Media buyers in Poland are not impressed. Several media buyers interviewed by considered research basics. “The measurement includes only the 80 stations offered by Netia,” noted MullenLowe Mediahub television buyer Marek Raclawski. “In the meantime, there are approximately 200 channels. The lack of measurement of those 120 channels overstates the viewership of the 80.”

“Another big problem, “ said Starcom Mediavest media analyst Pawel Kaczorowski, “is the lack of any data about subscribers beyond place of residence. Advertisers are likely to want data for campaign targeting opportunities to a specific audience group.”

There’s another concern. “Unless the (measurement) is conducted by an independent research firm with international standing, which can be subject to audit at request, the objectivity is put into question,” said Publicis Media research manager Krzystof Chomicki. “Our clients are in agreement that the new project is not competition for Nielsen.” (See more about audience measurement here)

Mr. Kurski, a political appointee, wants Polish media regulator KRRiT to “adopt” the Netia measurement service “already this year,” quoted byInteria Biznes (January 10). The current TVP contract with Nielsen, which runs through 2019, was “a big mistake of previous management and “does not reflect reality.” Mr. Kurski oversaw TVP’s conversion from public to State broadcaster through 2016, which led to precipitous declines in viewing audiences.

Courts in conflict, journalists stay in jail
"no progress"

Turkey’s Constitutional Court last week ordered two newspaper columnists arrested in the purge following the failed coup attempt in 2016 released from custody. With hours an Istanbul Penal Court refused to comply. Lawyers for the two appealed to another Istanbul court, which also refused to uphold the Constitutional Court’s judgement. Sahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan - and dozens others - remain in jail, accused of conspiring with a terrorist organization.

The Constitutional Court’s decision, explained Cumhuriyet (January 12), was based on “tainted” evidence presented by prosecutors, who sought life imprisonment. Articles written three years before the failed coup attempt, provided as evidence, were “criminalized,” said the court, and contrary to the facts. The court also said investigators provided no evidence that newspaper Star had any association with terrorist organizations. (See more about press/media freedom here)

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the Constitutional Court exceeded its authority, reported Hurriyet (January 14). The Istanbul courts, in theory subservient, said the Constitutional Court’s decision would not be carried out because it had not “formally communicated its rationale.” In a rare show of defiance the Constitutional Court responded that its rationale could be found on its website. (See more about media in Turkey here)

Earlier last week (January 8) the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) “awarded” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan “most thin-skinned” and “most outrageous use of terror laws against the press” among worldwide “press oppressors.” Turkey has in its jails about half the number of journalists jailed anywhere. Speaking in Sofia, Bulgaria European Council president Jean-Claude Juncker, reported Reuters (January 12) said “there will not be any kind of progress” in relations between the European Union and Turkey “while there are journalists in Turkish jails.”

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