Friday, March 26, 2004

The Counter

HRT 3, third channel of Croatian state television, is going off the air on March 28th. HRT is reminding audience of that with a counter in the upper right corner of the screen.

The frequency had been sold to RTL and the new programme, called RTL Hrvatska (or HRTL) was supposed to start on January 1st. But for various reasons the start was postponed, allowing HRT to keep its third channel and stuff it with operas, classical music concerts, art-oriented movies and any kind of programme which is not supposed to be part of commercial television.

Not that long ago, HRT 3 was the sports channel of HRT. This kind of programme was phased out and all the sports was stuffed into HRT1 and HRT2. Other content – sport, pop music, movies and TV shows – also had to be realigned. All that happened at the expense of education, politics, minority (but not religious programmes).

Increased competition from Nova TV and HRTL is going to affect HRT even further. Following enormous success of Story Supernova and Hrvatski idol, HRT is going to start with its own reality/talents show, designed to fill the cast of something which is supposed to be first Croatian movie musical.

If the standards of Hrvatski idol are to be applied to new HRT show, it would in many ways resemble policies of Roman Empire. Roman government invested large sums into mass entertainment featuring pathetic individuals being subjected to all kinds of humiliation and torture. HRT, institution financed by Croatian taxpayers, might reinstate this millennia-old tradition.


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