When CME speaks, the TV industry in CEE usually sits up and listens.
And listen it did earlier this week, when Christoph Mainusch, the company’s co-CEO, gave a keynote presentation at NEM 2016 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Mainusch was representing a company that has been at the forefront of commercial broadcasting in the region since 1994, when it launched TV Nova in the Czech Republic. Now, it has a presence in six countries including Croatia, where it operates the national station Nova TV.
Interestingly, in one of his previous roles, Mainusch was CEO of RTL Televizija, Nova TV’s main competitor in Croatia, from 2004-2009.
Mainusch spoke about trends in the TV ad market, providing statistical data from the Czech Republic. He also insisted that TV is unlikely to suffer the same fate as the music industry despite facing challenges.
His most controversial comments were left to last and related to DTT and advertising regulation. In the former case, he said that free DTT is obsolete and uneconomic, while the introduction of DVB-T2 is unjustified as it expensive and outdated, at times subsidised by governments and discriminates against cable and DTH operators. It would be better if state subsidies were instead invested in future technologies, while at best DTT should be encrypted.
However, Mainusch conceded that CME is still dependent on DTT in some markets (Croatia and Czech Republic, for instance), and less so in others (Romania).
On the subject of advertising, Mainusch surprisingly argued for complete deregulation, with broadcasters themselves deciding how much they carry. He also said that public broadcasters should carry no commercials as they impact on the market.
It was interesting to see that the speakers in a panel discussion on DTH and OTT, from Eutelsat, Telekom Austria and M7 Group, which I subsequently moderated, all agreed with Mainusch’s views on DTT. So, too, did almost all the industry delegates I spoke with at NEM 2016.