Week 35: Dogan Media Group may leave Romania

The Dogan Media Group (Turkey), which controls the Kanal D television channel, may decide to leave Romania. This would be a second major pull-out after the WAZ group, which sold its control package in the Romania libera daily. The Executive and the media in Romania are in full fledged conflict, after the Government decided to levy more taxes on intellectual rights’ earners, which includes the journalists. A Romanian media owner was indicted for blackmailing a major beer company. A global study on the use of the Internet showed Romanians are champions about using the instant messaging, but not so when using online transactions or social networks.

The online edition of Adevarul daily states the Turkish group Dogan Media is selling its 75% stake in Kanal D television channel, after the latter recorded 55 million Euro in loss between 2007 and 2009. Raiffesen Investments, of Raiffeisen Bank, was assigned the task to find a suitable buyer. The total investment in Kanal D reached 70 million Euro. In a press-release quoted by HotNews.ro, the Turkish group said it was seeking “the most profitable opportunities for co-operation,” while having received several offers from interested buyers. Dogan Media made no decision yet. Ringier (Switzerland) owns the remaining 25% of the Kanal D television channel. Paginademedia.ro states that Dogan is not planning to sell its majority stake, but in fact scouting for a buyer to take over the Ringier share in the television channel.

The minister of Finance, Sebastian Vladescu, said media outlets paying journalists via intellectual rights’ contracts might be deemed guilty of dodging taxation, mediafax.ro reports. The bickering between the Executive and the media got louder in the past few days, after new legislation made mandatory for people paid via intellectual rights contracts to contribute to the pension fund and health-care fund. Journalists are among those affected by the latest decision, as the payment of choice for media groups was to grant intellectual rights contracts to journalists, even when they worked as full-time employees. The practice had been tolerated by the authorities for roughly ten years.

Anti-corruption prosecutors indicted the owner of the OTV television channel Dan Diaconescu for blackmailing the Ursus beer maker, part of the SABMiller plc group. Diaconescu allegedly asked the company to pay 25 million Euro to withhold broadcasting a series of investigative reports on the Redds, one of the group’s beer brands. According to Romanialibera.ro, the reports alleged Redds contained harmful ingredients. After prosecutors targeted his business deals, Diaconescu went on to found a party. His personal wealth was shown to be higher than previously thought. Diaconescu owns four mansions, two luxury apartments and 15 plots of land – all located in Bucharest, the online edition of Romania libera said.

Romania’s urban dwellers and users of the Internet are champions when it comes to using instant messaging, but not so when it comes to online transactions and social networking, an international study of GfK Roper Reports 2010 found, as quoted by Paginademedia.ro. About two-thirds of Romanian Internet users rely on instant messaging, compared to the 32 % average recorded in the 26 countries included in the research. Romanians also score above average when it comes to listening to online radio. They are under the average scores for emailing, use of social networks and online buys – 13% compared with the 45% average. The research targeted only urban dwellers, 51% of which said they accessed the Internet monthly or more frequently.

About 15% of the respondents in a IAB Romania and eResearch Corp study stated they bought products and services after being exposed to an online advertisement, Wall-street.ro says. Of the people who scouted the Internet to find out more information on the products, some 28.7% made the purchase. This is close to 30% of the people who made the buy after just clicking the banners.

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