An American company promises to realise the dream of advertisers, greedy for information on the audience of broadcasters that would enable them not only to choose on which stations and at what time to air the commercial, but to understand who listened to it and whether they zapped. Television, with smart TVs and set-top boxes, has long offered the possibility of monitoring audience habits down to the last detail. For radio, on the other hand, listening surveys detect the age, socio-economic profile, and musical tastes of the listener but do not offer precise data on when one stops on a station or whether one ‘zaps’ when there are commercials.
The system integrates radio, streaming audio, and TV
Photographing in-car behaviour is now being attempted by Xperi, a giant that holds the patent for the equipment (transmitters and receivers) of digital HD Radio (used on medium wave and FM in the States). The company has launchedDTS AutoStage, an infotainment system that lifts the veil on how people behave in the car. This is important data since in many countries mobile listening accounts for 60% of the audience. The new infotainment system integrates radio, streaming audio and video, promises an immersive experience, and… records what the user does. Joe D’Angelo, senior vice president of broadcast and digital audio at Xperi is excited because the system will offer radio stations and advertisers ‘new revenue opportunities with brands and advertisers‘. Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini
In order to intercept young people, who mainly inform themselves on online platforms, the German international broadcaster restructures and accelerates its digital transformation
Deutsche Welle, the German public broadcasterof international programmes, will close its German-language TV channel. Despite state funding amounting to 406.5 million euros, the broadcaster may have a deficit budget. Director Peter Limbourgrelies on digital transformation in order to intercept young and experienced target groups who inform themselves via online platforms. The German TV channel, whose audience has dropped to 250,000 viewers, and the German Twitter and Facebook accounts will be closed. The operation will result in the ‘socially responsible’ cutting of around one hundred jobs, mainly in the Berlin office. The broadcaster will continue broadcasting in 32 languages.
A world first is about to be launched in the Netherlands. For the first time, listening will be measured by integrating all platforms (television, radio, press and online) into a single survey, replacing the current standards. This will be carried out by two market research giants, Kantar and Ipsos, which won the tender launched by the investors’ associations. The two companies will work closely together to create the NMO-Nationaal Media Onderzoek (National Media Research). In the course of 2021, the introduction of NMO will take place in phases and the first data will be published, which can be used immediately by agencies, advertisers and media operators. Several systems will be used to accurately map online viewing, reading and listening: for radio, there will be a smartphone app (MediaCell by Ipsos) that passively measures listening behaviour across all devices and platforms, as well as online behaviour with the smartphone. For TV, Kantar’s People Meter 7 will be used. For online, the Focal Meter, a router (with which the sample households will be equipped) will measure all distributed IP content. Additional datasets will be added on those who watch TV via websites and apps on devices other than TV or read newspapers and magazines online.
Switzerland is one of the most pioneering countries in the abandonment of Hertzian waves: in 2004, it switched off the Sottens shortwave transmitter (with 500 kW) and transferred the programs to the web. In 2010 it was the turn of the medium waves (the last to be switched off, the Sottens system) and in 2019 it was the turn of digital terrestrial television (which is still received via cable). Too bad, however, that the switch-off was done ignoring the agreements made with some private operators who were authorised to retransmit the DVB-T signal. So much so that some transmitters have now been switched on again. Christian Brülhart’s article analyses the situation. But digitalisation is continuing at a fast pace: the Swiss government has brought forward the abandonment of FM to the summer of 2022: analogue channels will be replaced by DAB digital channels.
ARTICLE (Auf Deutsch)
Das terrestrische Fernsehen wurde von der SRG in der Schweiz abgedreht, Private bringen es jetzt zurück
Ab dem Herbst 2014 wurden in der Schweiz überraschend die Sendeleistungen der DVB-T Sender massiv um den Faktor 10-15 reduziert, gestaffelt nach Regionen. Manche Auguren sahen das als Vorzeichen einer kompletten DVB-T Abschaltung, die fünf Jahre später folgen sollte. Im Herbst 2015 erklärte das Bakom, dass es das UHF-Band mittel- bis längerfristig komplett dem Mobilfunk übereignen wolle. Somit war klar, dass das Aus für das terrestrische Fernsehen kommen wird, nur wann, war damals noch unklar.
Fernsehen wird in der Schweiz vor allem über Kabelnetze und über Internet, Dienste wie Swisscom-TV mit hunderten Programmen und zeitunabhängigem Fernsehen dank einem 7 Tage-Zeitfenster, in denen man Programme nach der Erstausstrahlung schauen kann, findet viele Nutzer, die auch ein gutes Festnetz-Internet haben. Das terrestrische Netz strahlte über DVB-T fünf SRG-Programme landesweit aus; im Wallis und in Graubünden gab es indes private Netze, die dutzende Programme – teils verschlüsselt – über DVB-T ausgestrahlt haben, quasi Kabelnetze über die Luft. Valaiscom stellte den Betrieb, als das 800er Band dem Fernsehen weggenommen wurde («Digitale Dividende») und dem Mobilfunk zugeschanzt wurde, den Betrieb ein. Tele Rätia in Graubünden stellte den Betrieb Ende 2018 ein, als das Bakom auch noch das 700er Band für die Mobilfunk einkassierte.
Die SRG bekam Ende August 2018 eine neue Konzession vom Bakom, diese besagt, dass die SRG das terrestrische Fernsehen bis Ende 2019 aufgeben muss. Die SRG hat sich dann entschieden, DVB-T im Sommer 2019 abzuschalten; im Dezember 2018 wurde angekündigt, dass das terrestrische Fernsehen zum 3. Juni 2019 abgeschaltet werde. Die Informationskampagne war gut, aber das Aus von DVB-T hat doch ein paar zehntausend Haushalten den TV-Empfang weggenommen. Am 3.6.19 wurden die Programme über DVB-T eingestellt, danach wurden noch Hinweisbilder über die Sender ausgestrahlt, am 7.7.19 wurden die DVB-T Sender abgeschaltet.
Bereits im Juli 2019 hörte ich davon, dass am Hohen Kasten DVB-T reaktiviert werden könnte. Kabel-TV Lampert aus dem Vorarlberg bemühte sich darum, dass terrestrische Fernsehen auf diesem Ostschweizer Gipfel reaktivieren zu können, um das Schweizer Fernsehen weiterhin in ihr Kabelnetz einspeisen zu dürfen. Sie bekamen dann wirklich die Lizenz vom Bakom, DVB-T vom Hohen Kasten auf Kanal 34 ausstrahlen zu können. Geplant war ursprünglich, das noch vor dem Jahreswechsel 19/20 zu ermöglichen. Wetterunbill, die Revision der Bahn und die Corona-Pandemie verzögerten das um ein halbes Jahr, aber am 8.7.20 wurde der Hohe Kasten reaktiviert und strahlt seitdem wieder SRF1 und SRF2 aus. Der Hohe Kasten sendet den Kanal 34 mit einer ziemlich scharfen Richtstrahlung gen Nordwesten.
In der Romandie hat der private Sender Léman bleu ähnliches initiiert, seit dem Juni 2020 senden La Dôle-Barrilette und der Salève ebenfalls auf Kanal 34 die Programme der RTS wieder terrestrisch aus, dies in DVB-T2.
Wir sind froh, dass das terrestrische Fernsehen so zumindest regional zurückkehrte, denn das ist die einzige Möglichkeit, ohne Satellitenausrüstung und ohne Provider Fernsehen empfangen zu können.
Schools started distance learning in Mexico, one of the countries that has been hardest hit by the pandemic (in fourth place for the number of contagions). Since August 24th, 2020, 30 million pupils are able to follow programmes on air from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on 16 channels transmitted by four TV broadcasters: Televisa, TV Azteca, Grupo Imagen and Grupo Multimedios. All those who do not have access to television will be able to follow the lessons on the radio and study from books. Over 4,550 TV programmes (640 in indigenous languages) will be transmitted. The programmes do not include entertainment , but follow the school syllabus and pupils will be tested on the contents. Educational programmes do not have advertising. Here is the article with details from the daily newspaper, El Universal.
Families that cannot afford a decoder, political instability and broadcasters’ inertia are all slowing down the change to digital. It is a situation that, considering the proximity of the Presidential elections, is convenient for the political parties.
Initially planned for December 31st, 2017 (law nr. 167 passed in 2015) the transition to digital TV was then postponed to March 1st, 2020 (law nr. 8 passed in 2018).
However, political instability in the Republic of Moldova complicated everything when nearing the deadline. In June 2019 President Igor Dodon was suspended by the Constitutional Court due to him not being ableto form a government within 90 days following the elections. After this a combined diplomatic intervention by Russia, the United States and the European Union led to a partly pro-Russia and partly pro-Europe coalition government being formed. However, the pro-Europe, liberal Prime Minister, Maia Sandu lasted for only five months and was replaced by Ion Chicu, a technocrat supported by the Socialist Party. If you are interested in reading more about the specific phases of the crisis please click here.
Families do not have the money for a decoder
The main hurdle to transition, according to the Minister of the Economy and Infrastructure, Anton Usatii, is that a large number of families simply cannot afford to buy a decoder (the country has a population of 3.5 million and one of the lowest GDPs in Europe). In 2018 the government gave away 8,922 decoders but this supplied fewer than 20% of the families that receive social assistance (more than 51,000).
The State is going to buy them at € 12.50 each
The Minister set the deadline for the month of May 2020, also in order to resolve the problem of the national TV stations being behind schedule. Click here for more technical details by a media expert. He then invited families to make an official request for decoders and called for a tender in order to purchase 30,000 at the price of € 12.50 each. For further details click here and here.
But then politics interfered
A new crisis then changed the political framework. The government was led by the democrat, Ion Chicu (pro-Europe and centre left, but near the controversial oligarch, Vlad Pllahotniuc). Curiously, the government was sworn in on March 16th, 2020, the closing date for bids for the supply of decoders. The Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure went to the democrat, Sergiu Railean, who was to evaluate the bids (there were two). But notwithstanding the Covid crisis, even if the contract had been signed immediately, it would have taken two months for the decoders to have been supplied and they would have been distributed in the middle of the summer. The Minister has not spoken about a new deadline.
So the political parties are behind ‘the slowdown’?
The opposition fears that the delay is due to the fact that the TV stations that still transmit in analogue are those near the two parties in government. It would be convenient to not have competitors until November, when the new President of the Republic should be elected. However, even the stations are also reluctant because they believe that the rent for the band in the only national multiplexing transmission system is too high to support in absence of a switch off. They are talking about € 6,000 a month.
According to the pro-Russian press, on the other hand, everything is OK. In February 2020 the Secretary of State for IT & C, Vitalie Tarlev, asserted that the only DVB-T2 national multiplexing system had a 97% coverage of the country. And regarding the switch off, the date December 2020 is being thrown around because from 2021 even Moldava has to release frequencies that will be used for 5G. Find another article here.
Franco Martelli in collaboration with Sergiu Musteata.
The crisis funds to support local radio and TV stations are ‘totally inadequate’. This is how the associations representing broadcasters have branded the funds allocated for the sector in the draft copy of the ‘ Revival Decree’, which the Government is preparing in order to shore up the Italian economy which has been weakened by the pandemic. The Italian Publishers Association reaffirmed in a brief press release that ‘while undergoing a drastic reduction in revenues (often up to 80%) radio and TV stations have continually carried out the role of public interest nationwide’. Aeranti-Corallo, Confindustria Radio Televisioni and Associazione Alpi are therefore asking for ‘an adequate allocation of funds’. This is because the sector is ‘strategic in order to restart the economy, which is based on small and medium-sized companies that produce 58% of the turnover of industry in Italy’. The 40 million euros planned in the Cura Italia Decree (March 16th, 2020) were cancelled at the last moment.
The complaints have had an effect. According to the latest draft of the decree (May 19th, 2020) which has not been published yet, the funds have apparently returned to € 40 million. We will update you shortly.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the championships and programme schedules of pay TV. Now they are arguing over payment of instalments for television rights.
The Italian football clubs are preparing to sue. At the end of April 2020 they issued invoices to Sky, Dazn and Img for a total of 220 million euros. If unpaid, their next move will be to file an injunction of payment. However, following a suggestion proposed by Sky, in order to give the clubs time to organise themselves, the TV stations are asking for an immediate discount on this season or the next.
BeIN Sports and Canal+ in France refused to pay their last instalments (42 million and 110 million respectively) for coverage of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.
Since then, Canal+ has come to an agreement in order to avoid causing the clubs problems with liquidity.
Discovery, in Germany, is trying to terminate their contract with Bundesliga.
In Great Britain, DAZN has asked Premier League to defer rights payments.
Altice has suspended payments in Portugal.
In Brazil, Federcalcio di San Paolo sent a letter to Globo, declaring that they will not pay the last instalment for broadcasting rights of the championship, which has been suspended due to the pandemic.
The image of a man, seen from behind with his arms outstretched in a gesture of resignation, currently on the website page where Hakom, the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries, informs citizens of having postponed the transition to DVB-T2, the new television standard. Instead of May 25th, 2020, the transition will not be completed before the end of November or early December in order to allow the population to receive television programmes on existing TV sets. The Regulator is taking his time and will be making a further announcement at a later date, with the justification that it is not yet clear exactly how long the emergency measures, due to the pandemic, will last.
Map of Ukraine, the Russian occupied regions: Donbass and Crimea in red Source Modification by Editor
Starting March 1st, ‘Dom’ has been turned on: a TV channel through which the Ukrainean government is transmitting its voice to the regions where control was lost in 2014. Those regions are the Donbass, in the hand of Russian separatists, and Crimea, occupied by the Russian Federation (see red circle on the image above). This initiative is just one part of a strategy promoted by the government in Kiev: in 2018 the transmitters were already improved to boost the TV signal (five digital channels and two analogue) to Crimea, where Ukrainian channels have been replaced by the Russian ones.
The channel has been created to spread the message : ‘Ukraine is our home’, said the general manager of the broadcaster Yuliya Ostrovska ; during a press conference she also reported that ‘54% of the inhabitants of occupied territories can’t watch Ukrainian TV channels, and the 43% of them can’t view Ukrainian websites’. The design of the channel logo is interesting : it has been created to be read as ‘Dim’ (Ukrainian) and also as Dom (Russian), two different words that have one meaning : home. The languages used for the transmission will be Russian and Ukrainian.
The broadcaster, now in a testing phase, is going to transmit TV series and sport programmes, selected from the premium content provided by different groups: 1+1 Media, StarLight Media, Inter Media Group and Media Group Ukraine. The 15% of the quota allocated to 1+1 will be realized by Kwartal 95 studio: a production company founded by the current President Volodymyr Zelensky, that has helped forge his notoriety as actor and comedian. The schedule will be enriched with news (national and local) and talk shows, aiming to become capable of creating all the content autonomously.
But all those efforts may be compromised by electronic interference, said Mykyta Poturayev, a parliamentary responsible for information that attended the press conference. Just like during Cold War, when high power transmitters with giant antennas were active from the USSR territory, spreading noise, to make listening of Western broadcasters very difficult. Dom is like a foreign channel: it is dedicated to the occupied regions by being transmitted only over air. Once the autonomy of programmes’ production is reached, it will be transmitted via satellite and by cable.