World Media 2006: Poland

More than 50 per cent of Polish homes have multichannel TV but the media market is likely to remain sluggish until the economy picks up. New laws, meanwhile, threaten inward investment.

Poland, which joined the European Union in May 2004, has always seen itself as one of the more Westernised of the former Warsaw Pact countries and it is determined to achieve a high profile among the community of nations.

For instance, it considers itself to be a power broker with regard to the aspirations of the other eastern European nations (Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria) that are seeking closer ties to western Europe - and it is also a strong advocate for Turkey's membership of the EU.

Some observers, however, believe that Poland's ambitions continue to run well ahead of its abilities and, in particular, its economy remains worryingly fragile.

Poland's media sector arguably suffers from a similarly wide reality gap. When trying to attract foreign investment, Polish media owners point out that the country's broadcast market is the most sophisticated in eastern Europe - more than 50 per cent of Polish homes have access to multichannel television via either cable or satellite - and also has the greatest potential for growth.

Indeed, multinational media owners arrived relatively early in Poland, most notably the launch of Canal+ (Cyfra + in Polish) in 1995 - but this was hardly a licence to print money and it subsequently merged with another pay-TV operator.

Mergers and consolidation continue to be the main theme in the Polish media market, with a handful of multimedia companies beginning to emerge in recent years.

There is Agora, quoted on both the Warsaw and London stock exchanges, whose flagship is Gazeta Wborcza, one of the country's leading daily newspapers.

Agora also owns a magazine publisher and the country's largest outdoor company.

Then there's ITI, an organisation that embraces cinema, television broadcast and production and internet publishing. Its leading TV network, TVN, toppled the traditional market leader, Polsat, from the top slot in terms of audience share for the first time at the end of 2005.

But until the economy picks up, the media market is likely to remain sluggish. New worries for the sector emerged at the tail-end of last year, when the incoming government rushed through media legislation, which, its critics say, will threaten free speech and deter inward investment.

ADVERTISING EXPENDITURE USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1= Zlotych3.3. *Estimated Total TV Newspapers Magazines Radio 1994 262 162 44 35 21 1995 372 221 61 56 34 1996 561 335 86 88 53 1997 931 589 131 134 75 1998 1,364 843 122 192 98 1999 1,866 1,106 225 265 119 2000 2,124 1,214 285 307 132 2001 2,621 1,653 296 343 156 2002 2,740 1,743 293 342 192 2003 3,049 1,805 419 392 238 2004 3,403 1,876 522 475 285 2005 3,584 1,820 581 556 322 2006* 3,997 2,038 627 601 364 2007* 4,387 2,191 690 667 415 2008* 4,680 2,301 738 720 436 Total Outdoor Online Cinema 1994 262 0 0 0 1995 372 0 0 0 1996 561 0 0 0 1997 931 0 0 1 1998 1,364 107 0 2 1999 1,866 147 0 4 2000 2,124 172 5 7 2001 2,621 152 7 13 2002 2,740 148 9 12 2003 3,049 155 14 27 2004 3,403 185 24 35 2005 3,584 219 33 53 2006* 3,997 247 51 68 2007* 4,387 274 61 89 2008* 4,680 305 74 107 Adspend notes 1) Before discounts. 2) Excludes classified. 3) Excludes production costs. 4) Excludes agency commission. FACTFILE Highest circulating titles - Newspaper: Fakt (daily, 732,000 copies) - Business magazine: Tygodnik Angora (weekly, 400,000 copies) - Consumer magazine: Tele Tydzien (weekly, 1,500,000 copies) Top TV shows - Most watched TV programme (2004): Puchar Swiataw Skok Narc - ski- jumping - Best new TV format: Cash cab - a gameshow filmed in a taxi Major measurement tools - Circulation: Zwiazek Kontroli Dystrybucji Prasy (ZDLP), Audit Bureau of Circulations Poland - Readership: Polski Badania Czytelnictwa (PBC), SMG/KRC Poland Media - TV viewing: AGB Main media owners - Newspapers: Agora - Magazines: Bauer - Television: TVP, Polsat, TVN

THE LOWDOWN

Media topic du jour: Will European Union membership provide a new stimulus for the economy in general and the media industries in particular?

Reigning media guru and why: Danuta Waniek, the former head of the Polish media regulatory body, the KRRiTV, has been leading opposition to recent reforms that make government interference easier and, she argues, far too tempting.

Media mogul to be seen dining with: Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, the owner of Polsat, is, according to some observers, Poland's answer to Silvio Berlusconi. He is certainly one of the most successful media entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe.

Car to drive: Mercedes Klasa GL.

Phone to carry: Sony Ericsson K750i.

Whatever you do, don't say: I understand the new pope is German.

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).