AER special bulletin – 9th edition – Radios and COVID19 – 29 May 2020

INITIATIVES AT NATIONAL LEVEL

FRANCE
SIRTI – LE SYNDICAT DES RADIOS INDÉPENDANTES

SIRTI estimates 3 out of 4 independent radio stations will have to lay off stay

Independent radio station representative SIRTI says that 300 to 450 jobs are at risk staff and more than a third of the stations fear to have to close down. 95% of SIRTI’s members believe the situation will not get back to normal by September 2020 and 41% of the independent radio stations expect to decrease events they usually organise at local level.

National advertising dropped by 60% and local by 80%. With independent radio stations’ revenues depending at 55% on local advertising, they call for support to broadcasting costs, investment in DAB+, the introduction of a tax credit for the communication sector and for the total coverage by the State of the partial activity scheme to be uphold until autumn.

More information on SIRTI’s website.

The Minister for Economy rules out the introduction of a tax credit for the communication sector
It fears it would benefit to businesses that have not suffered from the lockdown measures (e.g. supermarkets) or come on top of already strongly subsidised businesses. The Government argues that this refusal does not mean that no support will be allocated to the media sector. Member of Parliament Aurore Bergé, who advocated for such a tax credit, said that a tax credit for publishers could be foreseen.

Commercial radios unite to call for help
The Chairmen of 180 commercial radio stations – SIRTI, M6, NextRadioTV, NRJ and Lagardère News groups – wrote to the Prime Minister on April 28th requesting for the temporary suspension of advertising on public service radio, Radio France. Commercial radio stations call for a better distribution of advertising resource for the next 12 to 24 months with a moratorium imposing Radio France to temporarily stop from meddling in the advertising market. Their intention is clear: they do not expect the State to subsidise commercial radio stations; they instead need a better sharing of resources. The signatories recall that the total radio advertising market in France amounts to €714 million in 2019, while Radio France’s revenues account for the same amount – €700.5 million in 2017, 88% of which comes from State funds.

On May 7th, Minister for Culture Franck Riester held talks with radio and TV representatives where the issue of advertising suspension for Radio France was raised, after which he told Newspaper “Le Journal du Dimanche” (JDD) that he believes the current balance to be satisfactory. Riester promised however other actions to compensate the drop in revenues and its cabinet has started working on a proposal for tax credit for the communication sector.

GERMANY
VAUNET – VERBAND PRIVATER RUNDFUNK UND TELEMEDIEN E.V.

New aid measures for the radio industry in Brandenburg and Bavaria
The Brandenburg State Parliament has adopted an aid programme for local radio and TV stations. In addition to the red-black-green coalition factions, the free voters also voted for an emergency aid of €750.000. This is to support the technical distribution of these local programmes. “Die Linke” which had submitted its own motion for further support for local media, abstained. The AfD voted against the aid package. As already agreed in the coalition agreement, electronic local media will receive €1.5 million in support annually from next year on.
 
More information here

Berlin Senate launched further aid measures for companies at federal and state levels
At the beginning of April 2020, the Berlin Senate approved the Emergency Aid Package IV in the amount of €30 million. SMEs in the cultural and media sector with more than 10 employees, a turnover of up to €10 million and headquarters in Berlin are eligible to apply. Local commercial radio and TV broadcasters are explicitly included.
 
More information on VAUNET’s website.

Radio is the most widely used medium for local information
According to the new Media Diversity Monitor (2019-II) of the German State Media Authorities, radio is the medium that is most frequently used by citizens in Germany for local information. One out three respondents listens to the radio every day to find out about local current affairs. This puts radio ahead of the Internet (28%) and daily newspapers (26%).
 
More here.

ITALY
CRTV – CONFINDUSTRIA RADIO TELEVISIONI

Decreto Rilancio”: important measures to support radios and TVs facing the effects of COVID-19
With the Law Decree 19 May 2020 no. 34 – “Decreto Rilancio, effective as from May 19, 2020, the Italian Government enacted a series of measures aimed at providing support to aid Italian companies facing the effects of Covid-19 epidemic.

Among the measures for the radio sector: 
o   Tax credit on advertising investments: according to art. 186, and only for the year 2020, the tax credit will be recognized on the basis of 50% of the total investments and not exceeding the maximum total of €20 million in advertising on analog and digital television and radio broadcasters, local and national (not co-owned by the State);
o   Emergency fund for local broadcasters of €50 million to radios and TVs providing a public-value service to inform the citizens about the ongoing pandemic.
 
More information here
 
SWITZERLAND
VSP- VERBAND SCHWEIZER PRIVATRADIOS / ASSOCIATION SUISSE DES RADIOS PRIVEES and RRR – RADIOS RÉGIONALES ROMANDES

Private radios and TVs receive emergency aid of CHF 30 million
The coronavirus pandemic has had severe repercussions for media with advertising revenue having fallen dramatically. Given the particular importance of media for democracy in Switzerland, a number of broadly backed motions were submitted during the extraordinary session of the Parliament requesting immediate financial assistance of CHF 57.5 million. The Federal Council consequently adopted two emergency ordinances at its meeting on May 20, 2020. Private radios and TVs will be benefitting from a CHF 30 million contribution, with approximately CHF 487.000 for each private FM radio station. The regulation will come into force on June 1, 2020.

More information here and here.
 
UK
RADIOCENTRE

Tuning In Livestream
Radiocentre held its very first Tuning In Livestream on May 19, 2020, with a great line up of industry experts examining how radio is handling the coronavirus crisis and looking ahead to what the future of radio holds. Here’s what happened. If you wish to watch the presentations, you can do so on Radiocentre’s YouTube channel here.

Building shelf awareness
Radiocentre’s Planning Director Mark Barber presented the latest report on how radio advertising can influence in-store behaviour, run by shopper insight consultancy Shoppercentric. The study examines how exposure to radio advertising on the journey to the supermarket can help brands increase stand-out on shelf and influence purchase behaviour, and explores how these effects can be maximised through creative development and media planning strategies.

Full report can be downloaded here.

Mental Health Minute
Following the release of the ’60 Second Support’ radio series from Radiocentre and Heads Together last month, which aimed to help millions of people across the UK deal with issues such as isolation, bereavement, conflict and self-care during the coronavirus crisis, hundreds of radio stations across the UK have united to broadcast the #MentalHealthMinute simultaneously. The Mental Health Minute is a minute-long message overseen by Radiocentre and Heads Together, the mental health campaign coordinated by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This year, the message focused on how people can support each other during the COVID-19 crisis, highlighting that, whoever you are and whatever you’re going through, you are not alone – and it’s OK to reach out.

More here.

For further information, please contact francesca.fabbri(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)aereurope.org and +32 2 736 91 31.
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