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Recently in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (CCI RF), within the framework of the 3rd Media Forum “Russian Media. Strategy 2020”, an open meeting of the CCI RF Committee on Entrepreneurship in the Field of Media Communications was held. Included in the permanent membership of the Committee is World Trade Center Press Secretary, Ivanova Yulia.
The main theme of the meeting of the Committee was the prospects of regional television after disconnecting analog broadcasting in January 2019 and an action plan for the preservation of regional television broadcasting. This issue caused an active discussion among the participants and guests of the event, as the situation today is not in favor of the media, and implementing the rejection of analog broadcasting for most regional channels is, in practice, tantamount to their closure.
In his speech, the Chairman of the CCI RF Committee on Entrepreneurship in the Field of Media Communications, Igor Pototsky, announced the development of a “Resolution on Ensuring the Right of Regional Television Broadcasters to Engage in Professional and Entrepreneurial Activities”. The document was signed by representatives of the CCI RF, the National Association of Television and Radio Broadcasters, and the Union of Journalists of Russia. In it, the journalistic community appeals to the President of Russia, the Government of the Russian Federation, members of the Federation Council, and deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation with a request to take all possible measures to resume work on the federal law “On TV and Radio Broadcasting”, to develop and adopt the necessary legislative acts guaranteeing regional media protection from discrimination by the federal media and the actions of the regulator, to extend the validity of permits for broadcasting for the period after August 19, 2019, until the full implementations of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 367 dated April 20, 2013 “On the Formation of Local Multiplexes”.
In addition, the authors of the document consider it necessary “to make changes to the existing regulations that will extend the regulation of monopoly tariffs on the transmission of regional television broadcasters, on the assumption that the existing unequal position of market entities can be overcome or by admitting other operators to signal distribution serviceS, or by introducing equal conditions for using the services of the exclusive provider of the respective services. ”
Igor Pototsky presented the world experience of solving such problems using examples from the USA and Germany. In these countries, television broadcast reforms have been going on for years. “Digital broadcasting (DVB-T format) is currently a dead-end branch of development, and IPTV (Interactive Television via Internet Protocol) is a more promising technology,” the Committee Chairman stated.
Director General of the National Association of TV and Radio Broadcasters, Alexander Shirokikh, recalled the meeting of the Government of the Russian Federation chaired by Dmitry Medvedev on readiness for the transition to digital television broadcasting, held November 15. He stressed that the Government Commission on the Development of Television and Radio Broadcasting was entrusted to review and approve the plan for the Russian Federation to switch to digital broadcasting by December 10, 2018, paying particular attention to a set of measures to inform the public about the transition to digital broadcasting. According to Shirokikh, the meeting of the fully updated Commission will take place on November 29, and it must be prepared to convey to its participants the full range of proposals on this issue.
Deputy Chairman of the Union of Journalists of Russia, Alexei Vishnevetsky, stressed that today residents of the country trust more regional TV channels, and as a result, they have high ratings. However, the prevailing mood at the moment in the regions is pessimistic. “Who will watch us after the New Year?” ask regional media.
Head of the Directorate of Regional Broadcasting and Special Projects of OTR (Public Television of Russia), Sergey Lomakin, believes that there is little chance of a change in the decision taken – there is little time for that. “But we must try, using alternative, unusual solutions, including,” he reads, “I propose to hold a 26-minute program with the participation of federal and regional experts on the problem and simultaneously show it on TV on the maximum possible number of channels.”
“According to preliminary data, after disconnecting the analog broadcasting, about 2 million people in Russia will not get access to digital. In addition, factors such as residential development elements, terrain relief, etc., can restrict access to the digital signal,” said Pavel Steshin, Director of Public Relations for Tricolor TV. He also stressed that the transition to digital broadcasting requires a phased work of the state together with the business.
Alexander Shkirando, Director of the Center for Public Relations and Media of the CCI RF, a member of the CCI RF Committee on Media Communication, told that the results of today's meeting will be reported to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the WTC, Sergey Katyrin. In his opinion, it is necessary to initiate a meeting of representatives of the established Working Group with the Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matvienko, who is aware of the problems of regional TV and may affect the situation.
Elena Devyatkina, Director General of the Tverskoy Prospect Region TV Channel, spoke on behalf of regional television. She spoke about the experience of the Tver region – an experimental region, where the transition to digital broadcasting began on November 8. According to her, for 90% of cable TV viewers, nothing has changed yet. However, almost 30% of the region’s inhabitants do not have access to the Internet.
Natalya Kalugina, head of the Press, Television, and Radio Broadcasting and Communications Department of the Lipetsk Region, considers the function of informing the public, for example, during an election campaign, to be disappearing from television.
Another problem the participants called “falling incomes and rising costs”, which already affects access to TV content.
Summing up the meeting, Igor Pototsky stressed the importance of integrated, joint work to achieve the goals of the Resolution. He said that at the plenary meeting of the Media Forum “Russian Media. Strategy 2020" this issue was also raised, and the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies, and Communications, Leonid Levin, agreed on the need to resume work on the Federal Law “On Television and Radio Broadcasting”.
All participants of the Committee’s meeting were given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the text of the Resolution, and Igor Pototsky requested to prepare and send to the Committee possible additions explaining technical aspects for inclusion in the analytical report and further forwarding of all these documents to the State Duma, the Federation Council, the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation.