Thursday, March 20, 2008

Alternating Days:

We may have sunshine today. We've alternated each day between rain and sun--which I suppose still beats successive days of rain.

The weather pattern is also a good metaphor for the media conditions in Albania. Some days things work and some days they don't.

Newscasts routinely do not end at a fixed, scheduled time. One night the newscast runs 35 minutes. Another night 45.

The Prime Minister blasted the media at a news conference yesterday--accusing two of the stations of having "commentators" on a late night political talk/discussion show who were drunk and making wild charges. These sorts of things are the kind of charges that cause owners to lose licenses and citizens to lose alternative voices to state media because the private owners get sloppy--which happens partly because there is no training, including training to establish ethical standards of conduct.

Because the newscast runs long, on some nights commercials must be dropped because the program time would run long and the late news--10:30PM--would begin late.

Sales people enter a clients office and the first thing the client asks is, "How much is my discount?" Never mind that no discussion has begun as to what the client should buy and for how much. The order takes--they're not SALESpeople when they do this--immediately say, "How about 20% (or 30%)?"

How much does it cost to produce that program I ask television station people? They have no idea. People are assigned to the production staff and paid but there's no cost accounting. If we don't know how much the program costs, how can we make a logical (business like) decision to run the show and how much do we price the ads for?

Can a TV station in Albania make money from a show that costs them $1 million to produce for a short TV season--13 weeks? No. I don't know the value of the TV ad market in Albania--though probably somewhere the data exists--my guess is that all the TV and radio ad spending probably totals between $13 - 16 million--about 9 - 12 million Euros.

Ok....time for the days adventures to begin.