National Media Association called BRT to reduce financial pressure on media
In the context of lockdown restrictive measures that have been translated into steep decline of media revenues, the National Media Association calls on the State Company "Broadcasting, Radio Communications and Television Group " (BRT) to reduce financial pressure on broadcasters, and as well to set up some special conditions for provision of telecommunications services during this period, as it is said in the National Media Association’s statement made public on April 16.
According to NMA, the telecommunication operators’ services are the second largest item of expenditure the broadcasters have after labour remuneration. The main source of income to cover these expenditures came from advertising revenues, which has been significantly reduced now, due to the temporary shutdown of many businesses and the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association draws attention to the problem of the inability of broadcasters to pay for telecommunication services during lockdown.
"The lack of a centralized decision by the concern management to introduce any special conditions for cooperation with broadcasters during quarantine offers grounds for the majority of branches to refuse to change the terms of contracts with broadcasting organizations. Such a stance seems especially ungrounded viewing the fact that BRT Group is listed as strategic enterprises that cannot be cut off from power supply.
As a consequence, financial pressure on broadcasters got increased, as they accumulate debts that can critically destabilize their financial position. In the future, this could lead to the shutting down of a large number of local and regional broadcasters, increased financial dependence on the owners and increased loyalty of the broadcasting companies that continue to operate, to corruption in mass media, "the statement read.
The National Media Association called the BRT executives to immediately adopt a decision establishing special procedure for cooperation with broadcasters during quarantine, namely:
-offering temporary discounts on telecommunication and digital streaming services for national terrestrial broadcasters and broadcasters using radio frequency resources, at least 30%, from 1 April and within three months after the end of the quarantine measures;
-offering temporary discounts on telecommunication and digital streaming services for regional and local terrestrial broadcasters, as well as for telecommunications operators of regional and local multiplexes, at least 40%, from 1 April and three months after the end of quarantine measures;
-providing an opportunity for broadcasters to temporarily reduce transmitter capacities on demand and reduce broadcast time with a corresponding proportionate reduction in the cost of telecommunications services.
The NMA also requested that the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian Policy and the Cabinet of Ministers paid attention to the problem of the inability of broadcasters to pay for telecommunication services through quarantine. The authorities have to facilitate dialogue between broadcasters and the State Enterprise BRTGroup.