Poland has the highest rate of unemployment in the European Union - about 20 per cent of the country's 38.5 million population is without work - and economic growth is slow. In early summer this year, Poland goes to the polls to determine its future. Will it plump for a safe conservative coalition? Or will the country vote in the two populist parties that are inherently Euro-sceptic?
The Economist predicts the governing parties, the democratic Left Alliance and the Union of Labour, won't perform well on polling day and that the most likely outcome is a centre-right coalition. Accession to the EU in May 2004 has certainly boosted the fortunes of farmers, which means that a conservative coalition is more likely than it was. The outcome of a referendum on the European Constitution is less easy to predict.
Despite its socio-economic problems, Poland has been a magnet for foreign media owners, particularly because it is the largest broadcasting market in Eastern and Central Europe. TVP, the public broadcaster which operates two channels, now rubs shoulders with the digital pay-TV channels Polsat and Cyfra+. The latter is owned by France's Canal+.
Fakt, owned by the German publishing company Axel Springer, has grown rapidly to become the highest-circulating newspaper in Poland, a country where less than 30 per cent of the population reads a newspaper. Fakt's success has cannibalised its closest rival, Super Express, whose circulation has declined by 8.5 per cent, and regional dailies , down by 7 per cent.
Yet perhaps the biggest impact that Fakt has made on the Polish newspaper market is that it has forced other publications to review their outdated design.
Axel Springer also teamed up with Newsweek and Forbes to produce local editions of their titles in Poland. Newsweek Polska, in particular, has enjoyed remarkable success alongside BusinessWeek's Polish edition. On the consumer side, Glamour, published by Gruner & Jahr Polska, has been a success, and G&J also publishes Claudia, Poland's most popular women's title.
Agency-wise, OMD caused a spot of controversy when it launched Easymedia, a "no frills" service. Easymedia targets clients who are simply seeking a good, old-fashioned media buyer and don't want research, insight or strategy. Advertisers who sign up pay a commission rate of just 0.99 per cent.
USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1= Zl
Total papers azines TV Radio Cinema Outdoor Internet
1994 246 41 33 152 20 - - -
1995 376 57 53 208 32 - 26 0
1996 576 79 84 317 47 - 49 0
1997 882 114 134 488 66 1 78 0
1998 1,308 171 190 728 98 2 118 0
1999 1,788 194 286 1,041 126 4 138 0
2000 2,045 253 324 1,145 140 7 176 0
2001 2,524 270 361 1,559 159 12 163 6
2002 2,646 272 362 1,646 194 11 162 8
2003 2,935 393 414 1,700 235 25 166 10
2004 3,124 455 481 1,700 264 30 194 11
2005* 3,304 477 516 1,785 290 36 199 14
2006* 3,463 517 544 1,852 305 41 203 19
2007* 3,592 525 564 1,914 335 44 211 23
1) Before discounts
2) Excludes agency commission
3) Excludes production costs
4) Excludes classified advertising
Newspaper: Fakt (daily,715,000)
Business magazine: Tygodnik Angora (weekly, 407,000)
Consumer magazine: Tele Magazyn (weekly, 1,771,000)
Most-watched TV programme (2003): Puchar Swiataw Skok Narc - Zakop (ski
Best new TV format: Cozanoc, co-created by Coty Poland, TVN and MEC for
the Rimmel brand
MAJOR LOCAL MEASUREMENT TOOLS
Circulation: Zwiazek Kontroli Dystrybucji Prasy (ZLDP) - Audit Bureau of
Readership: Polskie Badania Czytelnictwa (PBC) and SMG/KRC Poland Media
TV viewing: AGB
TOP MEDIA OWNERS
Television: TVP, Polsat, TVN
Media topic du jour - OMD Poland launching Easymedia.
Reigning media guru and why - Despite his relative youth, Jakub Benke at Starcom Poland is a shrewd operator who knows the market well.
Media mogul to be seen dining with and why - Maciej Stec. He heads sales at Polsat and his professionalism has meant bigger profits for the broadcaster.
Car to drive - Fiat.
Top-selling beer brand - Frater.
Phone to carry - Sony Ericsson T680.
Whatever you do, don't say ... "Is Easymedia anything to do with easyJet?"