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19.12.2011 13:14

What Presents will the Drunk Santa Claus bring the Media?

David Mchedlidze
Media Discusions

It is not a secret that TVs are just as happy with the New Year as children are, as it attracts to them larger audience, many advertisements and extensive revenues.  Although, as the Transparency International Georgia’s Report showed the Santa Clauses sent to Georgia will not make all the TV’s equally happy at all.  Some of them will again have more than enough advertisements and some will have to air own announcements and promos between the shows.  This is the reality and however they criticize the Transparency International Georgia Report, the situation in Georgian media will not improve.

Due to a strange regularity only those media outlets gain the major part of profit from advertisements that are on the stronger side; and you know very well who is the strongest and powerful in Georgia! 

The given regularity does not change even when a rating and circulation of one of the TVs, magazines, or newspapers increases.  On the threshold of 2008 early presidential elections Kavkasia TV rating boosted up, but it did not result in any proportional or even noticeable increase in advertisements! 

Naturally, in a free environment were business is not accountable to political forces there would be a different, far more diverse situation.  Some of you may argue that some of the advertisement-full media organizations are managed by genial psychologists and marketing masters, who control capricious businessmen as the Piper of Mamelin controls rats, but how can we explain all the geniuses being on the same side? 

It is obvious that one energetic and smart enough editor may really be able to convince several businessmen that an interview with some State authority attracts more readers than a journalistic investigation of the deeds of that authority, but when many editors have this achievement systematically and easily it is at least suspicious! 

Transparency International Georgia’s Report has brought the temptation to describe those media organizations that easily attract advertisements as pro-governmental and those who fail to solve the given problem as pro-opposition.  Of course the complexity of the situation does not allow making such simple conclusions, but certain regularity can still be spoken about.  Let’s remember how the TVs report on the latest hobby of the President – celebrating opening of new buildings almost every day, meeting with regional population and filming all this very thoroughly. 

Maestro and Kavkasia usually approach President’s hobby critically and by airing small news.  The First Channel understands it and dedicates extensive reports to it.  Rustavi 2 and Imedi apprehend President’s travels with the same enthusiasm and delight as at some time the author of the first Georgian documentary Vasil Amashukeli filmed Akaki Tsereteli’s trip to Racha and Lechkhumi. 

So, how have TVs responded to President’s plans to dry the seaside swamp and build the city-castle of Kolkheti Kingdom? 

The First Channel said it was a good idea, Rustavi 2 said it was wonderful and Imedi said it was a genial idea.  Maestro claimed it is going to be done against Bidzina Ivanishvili and Kavkasia said it was foolish. 

Everything goes opposite; when the top news is Bidzina Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream the response is as follows:  First Channel – Oligarch who gained his fortune in Russia cannot dream independently; Rustavi 2 – Oligarch’s dream – to enslave Georgia; Imedi – Oligarch responsible for bloodshed of Georgian youth does not have a right to dream! Maestro – We are not for sale, but Mr. Bidzina can help us and think about Georgian Dream that way! Kavkasia – No problem; let’s dream; dreams do not kill! 

Transparency International Georgia’s Report also confirms that right such spirit (and not tariffs, rating and circulation) determine to were the Santa Claus will bring the advertisements to; while the advertisements have lately been “enriched” with high concentration alcoholic drinks’ commercials (previously prohibited).  Yes, that’s right; vodka commercials have returned to Georgian broadcast!  It was prohibited for years, just like in many other countries including France, which does not allow advertising of drinks containing over 1.2% of alcohol in TV and movies.  Additionally they also prohibit the alcohol producing companies to sponsor sports and cultural events for avoiding advertising of their products.  It was the same here too until lately (it was allowed only late at night for some time), but the prohibition has been annulled and it is not surprising:  we are not Europe really, so why should be limit ourselves with legislative, or voluntary Code of media-advertisement?! 

Of course the permission for advertising alcoholic beverages will significantly increase the income of media organizations, but the “free media” will not gain much in that case either other than if a Santa Claus drunk with crystal clear (Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish, or Georgian) vodka will not make a mistake and knock on their door…

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