Community televisions and radios can tender for HUF 110 million worth of grants for technical developments

Published: 27 May 2020

According to the decision of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), as in previous years, community television and radio stations can receive grants for technical developments in a total of HUF 110 million. The Board adopted various studies on the social diversity of news programmes, the impact of the coronavirus on the media market and the advertisement viewing habits of children. The Council announced the winner of a radio frequency tender of Miskolc.

Applications are accepted in the first round of tenders for technical developments until 9 June

As in previous years, within the framework of its patronage programme, the Media Council decided to issue an invitation to tender with a budget of HUF 110 million for the technical improvement of community, so-called linear media service providers (traditional radio stations and TV channels broadcasting on the basis of a programme schedule). The maximum amount of individual grants is HUF 5 million for TV channels, HUF 3 million for radio stations and HUF 1 million for small-community radios, yet the awarded amount may not exceed 80% of the planned total costs. The application deadline for the first round is 9 July and the minimum value for the purchase of assets to be applied for is HUF 50 thousand.

Women remain underrepresented in televised news programmes

The Media Council adopted the Authority’s latest study on the social diversity of news programmes, i.e. the representation of specific social, economic and ethnic groups, for the year 2019. As in previous years, from the range of various economic operators, the representatives of the service sector appeared the most frequently within the examined categories, representing a total of 77.5 per cent. Minorities appeared 2.2 per cent of the time in the programmes under assessment, which corresponds to the average of previous periods, with Hungarians living in neighbouring countries (36.6 per cent) and Roma minorities (36.6 per cent) at the top. Concerning gender representation, the average rate was almost four-fifth in favour of men: 77 per cent vs. 23 per cent. The survey covered the news programmes of the seven national television channels, as well as the three public service broadcasts of Kossuth Rádió.

The coronavirus had a major impact on the advertising market

According to the NMHH study reviewing the transformation of the television advertising market in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a decreasing tendency can be clearly demonstrated in comparison to the previous year: whilst the number of daily advertising spots ranged between 35 and 38.5 thousand throughout March 2019, in 2020 the same figure dropped from 40 thousand at the beginning of the month to nearly 30 thousand by the end of the month. The sectoral distribution of the advertisements was fundamentally characterised by the strong performance of sectors related to fast-moving consumer goods (foodstuffs, commerce, medicinal products, beauty care, household products), whilst others (recreation, financial institutions, services) decreased significantly. The survey covered 76 Hungarian-language television channels.

Children are exposed to ever more advertisements

The Board also adopted a survey on the advertising habits of thematic children’s channels, offering a comparison of the data of five television channels from 2011 and 2019. The study points out that such thematic channels are airing increasingly more advertisements. The harmless “shepherding” role of children’s channels has changed, as youngsters are considered to be marketing factors of increasing significance, so these channels are taking an ever greater slice of the television “advertising pie” for children aged 4 to 17 years of age. For example, on Minimax, the number of daily advertising minutes has increased more than twofold – from 60 to 143 – and furthermore, these periods are two and a half times longer, increasing from 93.6 to 230.5 seconds. There are a significant number of single spots, advertising breaks that consist of a single commercial. Such commercial messages significantly reduce the chance of switching to another channel, thus providing advertisers with highlighted attention and a great number of viewers. As a positive development, there are no more commercials promoting fast-food restaurants, sugary cereals and chocolate-based products. These are replaced by advertisements of basic foodstuffs (pasta), frozen goods (fish fingers) and fruit juices – thanks to self-regulating provisions and the special taxes on unhealthy foodstuffs.

All three studies will be available on the NMHH website within a few days.

Decisions concerning radio frequencies

The Media Council concluded the tender procedure for the commercial use of the Miskolc 96.3 MHz regional community radio frequency with Radio Plus Kft. as the winner. The Board also removed the applicant LBK Médiaszolgáltató 2020 Kft. from the register as it revoked its bid.

The Media Council carried out the substantive review of the tender procedure for the commercial use of the Heves 93.7 MHz local frequency and requested information from M-Lite Kft. Subsequent to the formal review of the tender procedure for the commercial use of the Sátoraljaújhely 104.9 MHz local frequency, the Board called on the sole bidder, Zemplén Televízió Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft., to supply additional information.

Media supervisory decisions

In proceedings initiated based on a citizen's report, the Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 3.3 million on the service provider of TV2 for airing the programme Tények Plusz and its rerun with inappropriately assigned age ratings and improper time schedules on two occasions in February: the former at quarter to seven in the evening and the latter at quarter past eleven in the morning with an “age 12 circle” even though the programme should have only been aired after 9.00 p.m. with an “age 16 circle” due to the fact that the comprehension and processing of its contents demands a more mature audience. The programme dramatically presented the death of a woman who suffered a traffic accident with actual, surveillance camera recordings and portrayals of the situation, bereavement and vulnerability of those who survived her – a husband and three children. When determining the amount of the fine, the Media Council particularly considered the fact that Tények Plusz presented the personal tragedy in a sensationalist manner without the sense of commemoration and when portraying the tragedy of a family, the way the people in a vulnerable situation were presented was inadmissible.

The media service provider of Rádió 1 received a warning from the Media Council – without a fine – for airing surreptitious advertising in a broadcast of the programme Balázsék from March in relation to an immune-boosting royal jelly product which sponsored the programme. The Board also established that the service provider did not violate the rules according to which programmes containing product placements cannot directly call for the purchase of a product or use of a service.