A cross-cultural communications challenge
Print media is still the major source of detailed information in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, though radio and TV are also important. Tabloids and boulevard publications are prevalent but the quality titles are catching up. While some print publications are in foreign hands, broadcast and newswires are generally state controlled. The significance of the internet varies across the region, but penetration rates are generally below those in western Europe, except in Slovenia.
The media landscape is not highly developed, with boulevard newspapers and broadcast the most important channels. This is partly because of the monopoly power of more than 20 local dailies. Metro (Swedish Modern Times Group) with 340,000 free copies and the tabloid Blikk (Swiss-based Ringier) with 250,000 paid-for copies have the highest circulations. Among quality daily newspapers, Népszabadság (Ringier) has managed to preserve its market leader position (200,000) ahead of Hungarian-owned Magyar Nemzet (70,000). The important business papers include the daily Napi Gazdaság (20,000) and weekly Heti Világgazdaság (140,000). Internet penetration at 39 per cent is below the regional average.
The arrival of international players has modernized the media, boosting quality journalism. The country’s print press landscape is widely diversified thanks to the 90 per cent of Poles who read dailies and periodicals. The market is dominated by foreign companies such as Norwegian Orkla Media Group and German publishers including H Bauer, Verlagsgruppe Passau and Axel Springer. The most important domestic competitor is Agora. Its Gazeta Wyborcza, launched in 1989, was the first independent newspaper in post-communist Poland. Gazeta Wyborcza (420,000) was the biggest daily seller until Fakt (500,000), owned by Axel Springer, took the lead. Important business newspapers are Puls Biznesu (20,000) and Parkiet (10,000). New media usage is above average for the region.
Nine national dailies account for two-thirds of the newspaper market, with local and regional dailies responsible for most of the rest. Newspaper and magazine publishers, apart from the leftist daily Právo (200,000) and the communist daily Haló noviny (50,000), are owned by foreign companies. Finnish Sanoma Magazines International (SMI) has a strong position in women’s and lifestyle magazines and Swiss publisher Ringier is active with the daily tabloid Blesk (circulation 500,000) and with magazines. Most of the 80 or so regional and local papers are published by Vltava-Labe-Press (VLP), owned by Germany’s Verlagsgruppe Passau and its company POL-Print Medien. Daily Hospodárske Noviny (70,000) and the weekly Ekonom (30,000), both published by Economia (owned by German Handelsblatt), have the largest share of business readers. Affinity with communications technology is high.
The most popular daily newspaper is the tabloid Nový as (190,000) owned by Ringier. The leading opinion-making daily newspaper is SME (80,000) and around nine national or multi-regional independent papers share the rest of the market. The two most successful magazine and journal publishers are Ringier (with a 60 per cent market share) and the locally owned Spolonos’ 7 Plus. Some specialist magazines and journals are published by Dow Jones/Handelsblatt. The most popular weekly magazine is Plus 7 dní, followed by Bájená žena and Markíza. The Slovakian edition of the newspaper Hospodárske Noviny (20,000) and the magazine Trend (20,000) are the most widespread sources of business information. New media usage is at western levels.
Notwithstanding the country’s technology bias and international pressure to improve the freedom of the press, the media remains underdeveloped. There are eight daily newspapers comprising paid-for circulation of approximately 263,000 copies. The two top dailies are the broadsheet Delo (70,000) and tabloid Slovenske novice (90,000), both owned by Delo. They account for more than 50 per cent of the market. Two other quality dailies, Dnevnik in the capital Ljubljana and Veer in Maribor, are both regional and each control about 20 per cent of the market. Foreign media only arrived about 10 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today they include Bonnier and Dagens Industri (both Sweden), Styria Verlag, Leykam (Austria) and Burda (Germany). The business newspaper is Finance, with a circulation of about 15,000. The country’s internet penetration at 68 per cent is the biggest in CEE and even exceeds Austria and Germany.
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