Friday, June 06, 2003

No Va For Nova TV

Although I was, like everyone else, intrigued by reality television show craze, I didn't watch a single one of those shows (except the German version of Big Brother). Nova TV has been airing Survivor for past few years, but I didn't watch it, partly because I had already knew who the winners would be. Tomorrow Nova TV would start airing Temptation Island and I'm not so well-informed about it, so I'll try watching it.

But chances are that I won't be able to watch the finish of that show. There are more and more rumours about Nova TV being taken off the Croatian airwaves. According to articles published in Nacional and Feral Tribune, Račan's (Racan's) government is seriously pondering suspending Nova TV's national frequency. Nova TV has gained national frequency under condition of covering 75 % of Croatian territory with transmitters, having its own news programme and, last but not least, large proportion of its programme being made in Croatia.

Anyone who had been watching Nova TV knows that those conditions weren't met. New programme was introduced only few months ago, Nova TV officials were going on record with statements about their transmitters covering only "commercially viable interesting urban areas" and the programme was made of almost entirely out of American films and TV shows. Only in last year or so there was some attempt to get some Croatian content in the programme – foreign video-clips were replaced by Croatian video-clips, two news shows were introduced together with spectacular Story Supernova "reality show".

But those measures came too little too late. Račan's (Racan's) government couldn't have cared less about Nova TV not fulfilling its obligations, but in the election year all that became an important issue, especially after news show personnel opened a gate for suspicion about pro-HDZ and anti-SDP character of its programme.

Rumours say that Nova TV would be stripped of national frequency and that would allow government to make a double coup. Soon-to-be privatised HRT 3 channel would be sold to the group led by RTL and some media corporations with close ties with German Social Democrats – Račan's ideological counterparts. Nova TV's frequency, on the other hand, would be given to NeT – Nezavisna Televizija from Kutina, small regional outfit that had gradually evolved into Croatia's most prolific producer of television programme. NeT talk shows (the best one of them is Ispod pojasa, being hosted by controversial historian and Sabor representative Zlatko Canjuga) and comedy acts are sold to local and regional stations all over Croatia and they often steal away important chunk of viewers' demographics from Croatian state television and Nova TV.

According to rumours, Račan hopes that this manoeuvre would leave him with two extra government-friendly television networks and thus improve his election chances.


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