Baltic Media Health Check is a journalistic study that analyses trends, finances and issues of importance in the Baltic media markets. This publication has been created by the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism Re: Baltica in collaboration with the Centre for Media Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and was launched November 5.
The report presents a very varied picture with all media scrabbling for audience share, while advertising revenues appear to remain quite healthy.
"Last year, for the first time in a decade, the Baltic advertising market expanded above 300 million euro, but it’s still approximately 25% below its peak (406 million euro in 2008)," the report says.
TV stations in Estonia and Lithuania are in the healthiest shape, while in Latvia online news portals - including LSM - lead the way.
The Baltic Media Health Check 2019-2019 - an annual study that analyses trends, finances and issues of importance in the Baltic media markets. Download it here: https://t.co/aPgMPV1B82 pic.twitter.com/nagnMXnkhD— SSE Riga (@SSE_Riga) November 5, 2019
"Among the most popular newspapers in Latvia, only one of the top 5 is a daily (Latvijas Avīze), while the others are weeklies. Latvia stands out among its neighbours as three of the most popular newspapers in 2018, same as in 2017, were Russian language publications, with MK – Латвия keeping its spot at the top. The average number of readers of one MK – Латвия press edition is three times that of its closest rival, so it’s unlikely that it will be toppled from its #1 position any time soon. Latvian language papers Latvijas Avīze and [cooking publication] Ievas Virtuve were ranked #2 and #3 in 2017, but were pushed to the bottom of the TOP 5 in 2018."
Regarding the future of public media in Latvia, the report says: "The Ministry of Culture estimates that the budget for public broadcasters should be increased by at least 7.2 million euro in 2020 and at least 14 million euro per year in 2021 and beyond. Meanwhile, the Latvian government has earmarked an additional allocation of just 5.5 million euro for public TV and radio next year.
"The Latvian public broadcasters have the smallest budget in the Baltics. Demoralised by a lack of money and the changes in management of recent years, public broadcasters will continue to be weakened in an already unfavourable media market, unless they receive the required funding."
The full publication is available to read and download online and also contains some interesting interviews and case studies.