GEO

Broadcasters’ revenues decline in the first months of 2013

21 August, 2013

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is shutting down TV9, a channel owned by his family, by September 1 unless a buyer emerges in the coming days. Although the Prime Minister stated that has been trying to sell the channel for some 10 month, employees said they were not informed about attempts to sell the company until Monday when they were told at a staff meeting that they have to start searching for new jobs.   

But such tight deadline might not be enough for finding a suitable investor, as TV9 so far failed to attract considerable advertising revenues and has been largely dependent on (undisclosed) subsidies from its owners. For comparison: in the period of January to May 2013, TV9  reported only GEL 379,333 of income (GEL 312,827 from advertising), while Maestro TV managed to generate GEL 1.3 million in revenues (all from advertising). Poor economic indicators in the first half of the year and shrinking advertising market also contribute to bleak outlook for turning TV9 to a financially sustainable enterprise.  

How much revenues did other channels report?

Private Georgian TV channels reported an accumulated GEL 21,751,009 of revenues between February to May 2013 – GEL 4.3 million less than in the same period of 2012. 93% of declared revenues are advertising revenues, according to data TI Georgia received from the Georgian National Communication Commission (GNCC), to which broadcasting license holders are obliged to report their income.

As we have highlighted before, we believe that some TV stations significantly under-report their revenues and do not include funds they receive from their owners in their declaration. TV stations report their revenues with varying levels of detail and in inconsistent manners – some present figures for different categories such as advertising, sponsorship, product placement, donations, others only report ‘total income’ and some seem to shift their revenues from one category to another.  

Rustavi 2 remains the station with the highest reported income. From January to May 2013, the channel declared GEL 12.3 million in revenues, nearly all of it from advertising revenues (including GEL 9.6 million from classic advertising, GEL 2.45 million from sponsorship and GEL 107,964 from selling the broadcasting time). This constitutes a 31% increase in revenues, compared to the same period of the last year.

Imedi TV, the second largest TV station, reported income of GEL 6,153,138 in the first five months (including GEL 4.8 million from advertising and GEL 1.3 million from sponsorship) – a 29% decline compared to 2012.

Reported revenues of selected channels (GEL)

Channel

Jan to May 2013

Jan to May 2012

change

Rustavi2/ რუსთავი 2

12,262,925

9,304,421

+31%

Imedi TV/ იმედი TV

6,153,138

8,646,710

-29%

Maestro/ მაესტრო

1,345,954

414,050

+225%

Tabula/ტაბულა

1,103,562

-

-

TV9/ მე-9 არხი

379,333

-

-

Channel 25/ 25-ე არხი

271,105

248,664

+9%

Kavkasia/ კავკასია

256,111

431,052

-41%

Trialeti/ თრიალეთი

80,064

103,064

-22%

TV 3 (RealTV/ რეალ TV)

14,353

167,881

-91%

The revenues of smaller TV stations – including Maestro, Kavkasia and TV9 – remain  far behind Rustavi 2 and Imedi, which both cover almost the whole country with their terrestrial signal and which accounted for 63% of all television revenues in 2012.

From January to May, Maestro generated GEL 1.3 million in revenues (all from advertising) – more than three times the revenues of 2012. Since February 2013, the company operates two channels: Maestro, which airs entertainment and political programs and Maestro 24, a news channel.

Two relatively large regional broadcasters, Trialeti TV (Gori, co-owned by TV9) and Channel 25 (Batumi) reported GEL 80,064 and GEL 271,105 (GEL 185,000 from ads) respectively.

Tabula TV, which launched trial broadcasting in mid-January, reported GEL 1,103,562 of revenues since February 2013, GEL 924,932 of which were reported in May and classified as revenues from selling the broadcasting time, according to the data set received from the GNCC.

The decline is likely to be the result of perceived political instability in the months after the change of power, which led to a decrease in private sector spending, and of an overall slowdown of the economy. Furthermore, several major advertisers delayed the launch of advertising campaigns in the beginning of the year due to changes in ownership and management in several TV stations and advertising agencies.

Charts

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AlZzGSs7RxkpdGNrQWpiXzlnVU5BaGRzUFg0NE5SUXc&output=html

Click here for the full dataset

For more information, see TI Georgia’s recent report: The Georgian Advertising Market: Competition at Last?

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Author: TI Georgia
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