CME shakes up Polish ad market with TVN

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WARSAW -- Market share for new Polish television station TVN reached only 8% during its debut on October 3 and revenues on opening night were just $440,000, but the station is shaking up Poland's advertising market.

The Warsaw-based station, which is owned by Central European Media Enterprises (CME) and its local partner ITI TV Holdings, reaches 60% of Poland's population and 80% of total consumer spending.

CME operates the leading station in several other central European countries, including the Czech and Slovak republics, Slovenia, Romania and the Ukraine, but Poland has a much more competitive TV market than the other countries.

CME expects to win at least 10% of the market by the end of 1997 and it is already using tough tactics to draw advertisers from Polish Television (TVP), Polsat and, to a lesser extent, RTL7 and Canal+. CME President and CEO Leonard Fertig says advertisers who don't reach the projected audience share and the specific groups of viewers offered by TVN's sales team will be compensated with an additional airing of their spot.

But TVN is not offering discounts and its rate card is steep for Poland, at $12,000-$15,000 for a 30-second spot during prime-time, compared to $7,500-$29,000 on the public network and between $3,000-$17,500 on Polsat.

TVP and Polsat have already dropped their ad rates by about 10% and TVP is transforming its sales department to offer more flexibility to advertisers. The public channel's sales team previously had to get approval from the TVP's management board to offer volume discount deals and preferred time slots, but they now have the authority to offer such incentives on the spot.

In the first half of 1997, television won 58.6% of Polish advertising revenue, according to Amer Nielsen Research (ANR), of which just over $130m went to TVP's two national channels. Nearly half of Polish viewers currently watch prime time television.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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