Feature

World Media 2007: Poland

Despite having an inefficient infrastructure and a weakened coalition government, Poland's economy is growing at an impressive rate. Foreign investors see it as a natural expansion target.

In a truth-stranger-than-fiction situation, Poland now has identical twins as its prime minister and president. Jaroslaw Kaczynski became the prime minister in July 2006; his brother and co-founder of the ruling Law and Justice party, Lech Kaczynski, is the president.

The Kaczynskis came to power in 2005, but the coalition government is unstable and internal divisions and recent sex scandals have weakened it. While it has initiated many reforms, the Polish infrastructure has inefficiencies and heavy burdens on taxpayers. The Kaczynskis are not diplomats and have upset fellow European Union members, despite the advantages that membership has given them.

Joining the EU in 2004 means Poland will receive $60 billion between 2007 and 2013. It has also helped exports to neighbouring countries, which leapt from $61 billion in 2003 to $95 billion in 2005.

Poland's economy is growing despite its infrastructure. GDP is rising at more than 5 per cent, although this is forecast to slow down in 2007. In 2006, ad investment is expected to increase by 20 per cent. Unemployment is at 18 per cent, and many, especially the young, are working abroad.

This hasn't put off foreign investors. German media companies see Poland as a natural target for acquisition and expansion, close by and with a $338 billion economy. This has created competition for the publishing giant Agora and the leading broadcaster ITI.

Europe's biggest newspaper publisher, Axel Springer, is a major player in a colourful Polish newspaper market. Although fewer than 30 per cent of Poles read newspapers and there are 300 in the market, Axel Springer Polska successfully launched the tabloid Fakt in 2003 and a further Berliner-style paper, Dziennik, last April. They are now the first and third largest newspapers respectively.

Polskapresse SA, the Polish subsidiary of the German media group Verlagsgruppe Passau, plans to launch its own national daily. Meanwhile, Agora's own new national closed early last year, just three months after launch.

Demand for TV space is high, despite price increases, and there is a number of fast-growing niche channels run by ITI and TVP. Axel Springer is also buying 25.1 per cent of Polsat SA, Poland's third-largest TV broadcaster.

Radio in Poland is thriving and outdoor is expected to have grown by around 32.7 per cent in 2006. But the internet is the star medium, with ad expenditure predicted to rise by around 54 per cent in 2006.

ADVERTISING EXPENDITURE
USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1 = Zl
3.24 *Estimated
Total News- Maga- TV Radio Cinema Out- Online
papers zines door
2000 2,400 323 347 1,373 149 8 195 6
2001 2,962 335 388 1,869 177 15 172 7
2002 3,097 331 386 1,970 217 14 168 10
2003 3,447 473 443 2,040 270 31 175 15
2004 3,846 589 537 2,120 322 40 210 27
2005 3,970 674 620 1,961 371 54 246 43
2006 4,749 751 688 2,412 439 67 327 66
2007* 5,443 830 782 2,784 482 80 396 90
2008* 6,006 895 854 3,062 512 94 471 117
2009* 6,546 962 916 3,319 543 111 530 163

Adspend notes 1) Before discounts. 2) Excludes agency commission. 3)
Excludes production costs. 4) Includes classified from 2003. 5) Excludes
self-promotion.

FACTFILE
HIGHEST CIRCULATING TITLES
Newspaper: Fakt (daily, 518,000 copies)
Business magazine: Polityka (weekly, 176,000 copies)
Consumer magazine: Tele Tydzien (weekly, 1,204,000)
TOP TV SHOWS
Most-watched TV programme: M For Love
Best new TV format: Dancing with the Stars
MAJOR MEASUREMENT TOOLS
Circulation: Zwiazek Kontroli Dystrybucji Prasy
Readership: Polskie Badania Cytelnictwa
TV viewing: GB Polska
MAIN MEDIA OWNERS
Newspapers: Agora, Polskapresse, Axel Springer
Magazines: Wydawnictwo Bauer, Axel Springer, Edipresse, Gruner & Jahr
TV: Telewizja Polska, Polsat, ITI Holdings

THE LOWDOWN

- Media topic du jour

Miss World. 2006 saw the world's biggest, live annual event take place in Warsaw in September. Even more of a talking-point than the impending launch of a fourth mobile network, P4.

- Reigning media guru and why

Wanda Rapacynska, the president of the board at Agora, the publishing giant, is credited as crucial to its success.

- Media mogul to be seen dining with and why

As the executive vice-chairman of the ITI Group, Mariusz Walter is making strides in creating multimedia properties. His new media developments include the acquisition in August of Grupa Onet, the leading internet portal.

- Car to drive: Mini.

- Phone to carry: Samsung Z370.

- Whatever you do, don't say: You could get paid more to do that in the UK.

BUZZ MEDIA IDEA OF 2006

Saatchi & Saatchi's award-winning work for Amnesty International to further freedom of speech in Belarus, used posters showing Belarusian opposition acivists, which were taped on with the silver tape used for gagging. It got a huge amount of press coverage.