The representatives of several television channels in Moldova have strengthened their position and ask the Audiovisual Council to adopt a regulation that clearly establishes that, when calculating domestic and purchased content, the broadcast time includes not only audiovisual programs, but also self-promotion, social advertising, commercial and electoral advertising. This is after such a proposal was launched by Octavian Hanganu, the commercial director of "Casa Media" during the public debates organized by the Parliament regarding the new amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Code. The project foresees the increase of the prime-time duration by two hours in order to be able to implement the legal obligations regarding the broadcasting of local programs.
The director of Jurnal TV, Adrian Buraga, believes that the legislative changes regarding the duration of prime-time appeared as a result of erroneous interpretations by some television representatives regarding the obligation to broadcast the eight hours of local content per day on national broadcasters, and the problem is being addressed in a strange way.
ADRIAN BURAGA: "The problem was discussed this summer, or better said in these weeks. Why, because the law started being enforced and now many colleagues in the guild tried to interpret these eight hours of broadcasting. So my opinion and the position of Jurnal TV, it was always same and it remains that we are for creating eight hours of domestic content, and regarding the broadcast time we maintain that the broadcast time is the astronomical 60 minutes. But here we will ask CA to intervene, stipulate and explain clearly what it means or what is included in those 60 minutes of broadcast, in the broadcast hour. We personally agree and are ok that in broadcast time to include all the products that we produce or that we have. Of course, those 12 minutes of advertising and promos and the rest of the products that can be broadcast."
And the director of TV8 is of the same opinion regarding the calculation of the broadcasting time in audiovisual.
SVETLANA BUZA: "But we in the last period with several players on the media market, here I am referring more to the colleagues in television, we reached a consensus and we even respectfully request that the Audiovisual Council revise an internal regulation that it proposes for monitoring the eight hours of native content. We respectfully recommend CA to review and create this regulation in which the airtime includes absolutely everything in it. This way it will be much easier for television channels because they will be able to easily plan their inventory sales and products created."
The opinions were expressed after the topic was discussed during the public consultations organized by the Parliament's profile committee regarding the amendment of the Audiovisual Media Services Code. The director of PRO TV, Cătălin Giosan, complained then that the implementation of the legal provisions regarding the broadcasting of domestic content in prime-time creates problems for the elaboration of the broadcast schedule, if the Audiovisual Council calculates local programs in astronomical hours.
CĂTĂLIN GIOSAN: "What is the problem with this eight-hour quota that is today. These eight hours of local programming mean ten hours of broadcasting in fact, because advertising and promos are added to eight hours of programming, ten hours of broadcasting. This quota is high even for weekdays, it's very difficult to manage to put enough entertainment in the hours that people watch, and the problem becomes extremely pressing on the weekend because again, with all due respect to everyone here, but whatever The Parliament of Moldova decides or the Broadcasting Council or us, starting from Friday evening until Sunday evening, people watch TV as a family, together and they want programs for the whole family, that means entertainment programs".
OCTAVIAN HANGANU: "Mr. Cătălin said an absolutely real problem, it exists and it must be solved, I don't really agree with the method proposed by Mr. Cătălin, it's a much simpler method, I didn't have the chance to propose it last time at the hearings. You see that what you are doing in the Code now with the changes makes it impossible that Moldova 1, which is national, has ten hours of broadcasting. In general, they will not be able to broadcast a football match, the football championship is coming, or series, or any other content. Moldova 1 will generally be blocked by these changes to the Code, they will not be able to broadcast advertising and to show football. Mr. Cătălin said that out of eight hours, this is actually 9.5 hours, actually 10 hours of broadcasting. Moldova 1 as a national broadcaster has the obligation to do ten hours of local content, which becomes 12 hours".
The commercial director of "Casa media", which has contracts for the sale of advertising space with the vast majority of televisions in the country, explained to both the deputies and the members of the Audiovisual Council how the problem can be solved.
OCTAVIAN HANGANU: "The advertising grid is clear today for tomorrow. I open 12 minutes of advertising for tomorrow, if I haven't sold them, I have to occupy them with something, because I can't rebuild the grid. In the spirit which is now of the Code I have to play with these minutes to save, not to sell advertising, I have to play to save space so that I don't get into ... Do the impossible, block the work in general on the grid. In this case it is normal, let's calculate the time of broadcast, let it be the time of broadcast, including advertising, promotion, including everything. My personal proposal is the Audiovisual Council comes alone and says, good people we consider and I think we agree, we consider the time of broadcast as broadcast time with everything that goes into it and then we basically receive everything that Mr. Cătălin said and that's it and no changes are made to the code and this is done in a week."
Regarding the intention to change the legislation, the director of PRO TV declared that no matter what the deputies write in the law about the notion of prime-time, the prime-time hours, dictated by the habits of television viewers, will remain the current ones, that is, from 06 :00 to 09:00 and from 17:00 to 23:00.
CĂTĂLIN GIOSAN: "As it is this quota of eight hours of program, ten hours of broadcast, for example as things are now in prime time, only one and a half hours of purchased program can be broadcast per day on average, in other words it is illegal in Moldova today to air a movie that's two hours long, sounds absurd what I'm telling you, but that's the reality. This expansion of prime time, that's where we started it doesn't make sense because prime time is defined by how the consumer consumes television programming. That's why the proposal we put forward in writing to the Commission is to reduce the local product quota to six hours, which means approximately seven and a half hours of broadcasting, and this can solve all these problems that I mentioned."
ANA BUTNARIUC: "Just as there is a didactic time that differs from the astronomical time, so there could be broadcasting time in the audiovisual sector, there is no problem in this respect. But as regards the reduction of mandatory quotas for generalist televisions, this means that we have to dig further, still let's give one more shovel. Everyone, let the gravediggers of the Moldovan audiovisual industry multiply. Let's bury even harder, reducing the mandatory quota of local content. This is not normal to reduce the mandatory quota. Then the rebroadcasts will flourish".
The representatives of the audiovisual industry claim that if the Audiovisual Council establishes by regulation the content of the broadcast hour with all the elements of the Code, there is no risk that someone will cheat and broadcast only self-promotion or social advertising instead of local audiovisual programs.
ADRIAN BURAGA: "And I saw here that they are trying to manipulate the fact that someone could broadcast or call their own content an hour of broadcasting from promos or advertising. Well, of course not, I am firmly convinced that the viewers and the audience at home who follow us know very good to charge us or charge those who try to cheat. You will not be able to broadcast indefinitely promos or other content that is meaningless or perhaps less pleasant or interesting to the public. Respectively, Jurnal TV's position remains clear, we await the CA's decision and we are sure that they will find the best solutions in which to make a clear rule in this chapter as well".
OCTAVIAN HANGANU: "I understand that some will try to give more publicity, more self-promotion in order to produce less local content. But don't be upset, as Mr. Cătălin said, the viewer decides, the viewer decides everything inclusively, and we do not have to touch the Code. I'll tell you the end, imagine the situation, someone puts in half an hour".
"Then in general why do we insist that in the Code there is, or it must exist, what is the peak hour".
"Yes, this must exist because inside there were other changes, the local product was placed.
Pislariuc: But what is the problem? Hanganu: But the problem is solvable. Pislariuc: It equalizes.
If the audience sees half an hour of self-promotion of I don't know what and so on, he changes the station. The TV market is two-sided, on one side is the audience and on the other is advertising. Each TV channel will decide for themselves to cheat or not to cheat, but they will be penalized not by the Broadcasting Council, not by the Parliament or someone but the audience. The audience will change the button if they see a low-quality product."
SVETLANA BUZA: "He will switch to another television for sure. No one will do raiting on social advertising. It cannot be a fear on the part of CA".
ADRIAN BURAGA: "I would not rush to operate with changes, it is a Code that everyone agrees that it exists, but it is not applied or it is not functional. Respectively, we are of the opinion, let's work according to this code or the provisions that are. Here I am referring to the eight hours of local content and the prime time hours. If problems are encountered in the next period, probably then this aspect can be reviewed. At the moment we do not see the need".
On the other hand, the director of RTR Moldova, Evghenii Sergheev, stated that he does not agree that the broadcast time should include social, electoral or commercial advertising. In his opinion, increasing the prime-time would be a solution, but the problem must be solved by revising the mandatory quota of local programs which television channels are obliged to broadcast.
EVGHENII SERGHEEV: "Regarding local content, I have always said that it is too high for our market. In order to understand what is the optimal share of local content, the Audiovisual Council should first study the market, see the volume and understand if the TV channeks can achieve this physically.
- Do you maintain that the quota of eight hours for national television is too high and that it should be reduced?
- Do I understand correctly?
- Very correct. But so that this is not simply my subjective opinion, it is necessary that the people responsible deal with studying the market".
The media expert Ion Bunduchi, who, together with other experts from Moldova, but also from the Council of Europe, developed the Audiovisual Media Services Code which is now in force, claims that all television channels should give up questioning the mandatory local content quota.
ION BUNDUCHI: "On these hot topics that have aroused controversies, I want to believe that the Parliamentary Commission will return to discussions and it could happen that at the initiatives of the Audiovisual Council these topics will be debated again because they are sensitive, they are old, some are not even worth discussing, perhaps the mandatory quota of local product is not worth being so debated, since the existence of Audiovisual in Moldova, since then, someone has been opposing it, instead of developing it. It would be good to start from the central idea, the legislation says the purpose of all our actions is to develop Audiovisual, to diversify it. That's what everyone wants, if they want to roll up their sleeves and do it".