AER special bulletin – 5th edition – Radios and COVID19 – 08 April 2020



Corona aid package to help the media sector: an important step for media diversity
VÖP, the Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Austria welcomed the increase in funding for commercial broadcasters (TV & Radio) of 15 millions € in 2020approved by the National Parliament, ensuring private media can continue to fulfil its task of informing citizens with up-to-date and trustworthy information. Corinna Drumm, Managing Director at VÖP commented: “With their services, Austrian commercial broadcasters are making an important and essential contribution to overcome the crisis together. They provide around-the-clock, reliable and complete information. They offer companionship to the population with a variety of aid and support activities. They bring the system-conserving Austrians in front of the curtain and stand up for the regional economy. And, of course, they help people at home to overcome the crisis with their diverse entertainment offerings. Thanks to the extraordinarily committed, flexible and professional colleagues in the stations“.

Private channels ensure the provision of information and entertainment
In a separate press release, VÖP pointed out the importance and relevance of Austrian commercial broadcasters: They provide accurate and up-to-date information on national, regional and local levels on all important developments related to the corona crisis, making an important contribution to the fight against fake news and disinformation. The commercial radio stations reach more people than ever before showing how important and relevant radio is, especially in times of crisis:
– In total 77% of Austrians listen to the radio every day;
– 4.7 million Austrians tune in to one of the commercial radio stations at least once a week;
– Radio usage is higher than ever before, averaging 201 minutes a day;
– 80% of the usage of commercial radio stations is generated by younger age groups (below 50 ys.), whereas only 40% of the PSB usage is caused by this age groups;
– Despite the high usage, advertising revenues fall dramatically: the loss in advertising revenues is in between 50 to 80%.


Proposal for measures to preserve radio and jobs in the radio sector
HRF and the CEA (Croatian Employers’ Association)- Coordination of Commercial Radio Stations called the Prime Minister of Croatia Mr. Andrej Plenković to create a set of urgent measures to ensure radio does not succumb to the current crisis. HRF proposed the following:
– To establish a new status framework allowing radios suffering from a drop in advertising of almost 60%, to use state resources free of charge for the entire duration of the crisis and for 6 months after its end; these resources include the use of frequencies, the use of concessions and the provision of program broadcasting services;
– To reschedule the payment of tax obligations, interest-free, for a period of 36 months with a grace period of 6 months, through a highly “simplified” procedure;
– To allow the use of credit facilities, loans and guarantees under HBOR’S (Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and HAMAG BICRO’s (Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments) programs;
– To encourage advertising on radio.
The use of credit facilities, loans and guarantees under HBOR’S (Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and HAMAG BICRO’s (Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments) programs has been approved. The other measures are under discussion.


Finnmedia proposes temporary media support to mitigate the effects of the corona crisis
The Finnish Media Federation (Finnmedia) called the government to take urgent support measures to secure journalistic communication in Finland during the corona crisis and beyond. Finnmedia proposed the introduction of temporary state support for media companies. Jukka Holmberg, CEO of Finnmedia said: “In order to ensure that the aid does not distort competition between companies, we propose to implement it as a refund of VAT paid on magazine subscriptions and single issue sales to companies or, alternatively, as a temporary return to the zero VAT rate.” Finnmedia also proposed that the state similarly reimburse VAT paid to companies on media sales revenue for a period of one year. “Ad hoc support is also needed for advertising-funded media whose content is free to consumers. It would apply to all editor-in-chief media with advertising revenue. In this way, the support would also extend to city newspapers and private radio and TV channels” says Holmberg.


SIRTI President Alain Liberty calls for tax credits to cover radio distribution costs
The SIRTI is calling for the creation of a tax credit to covers costs linked to distribution / transmission of FM and DAB+ and for the overall support for the roll out of DAB+. Independent radios also advocate for other measures, such as tax credit for communication agencies to support their advertising investment towards broadcasters. This initiative is also encouraged by other media organisations and backed up by Member of Parliament Aurore Bergé (rapporteur on the Audiovisual Reform) who is discussing to the relevant government actors.
The communication sector has not seen worse crisis since 1945
More than 2/3 of the advertising agencies will declare partial unemployment according to the association AACC. The drop in advertising is of average 70%.

CSA President confirms the Regulator’s flexibility with regard programme adaptation requests from broadcasters
The French Regulator announced that the procedure for the allocation of the DAB+ frequencies was postponed. The CSA is in contact with TV channels and radios stations that are facing challenges due to their loss of advertising revenues. It is considering specific measures with this regard, with the support of the Culture Ministry.  For local radios, exceptional support through funds of the “expression radiophonique” could intervene.


In these difficult circumstances, radio remains the best companion for all, AEMAR reported on their latest radio audience measurement, conducted in Attica from MRB HELLAS companies and LINK GLOBAL:
– 8 out of 10 people listen to the radio daily, with an increase in the average daily listening time on weekdays of 82%
– Listening at home is, as expected, increased.
This proves that listeners understand the importance of radio and continue to choose its companionship, information and entertainment.


President Michael D. Higgins to share Covid 19 address on Independent Radio Stations
The Irish President Michael D. Higgins made a public address on the impacts of Covid19 to the Irish population and asked IBI to coordinate the broadcast of the message through its member radio stations.

Tax credit
The Italian Government extended an existing measure to boost advertising on press and local radio and TV (tax credit on incremental advertising). Current tax credit allows companies to deduct 30% of all advertising investments for the year 2020 in newspapers and digital media, in addition to local television and radio stations. Confindustria Radio Televisioni called the Italian Government to launch a special emergency fund to help commercial broadcasters (both TV and radio) survive the current drop in ad spend, providing additional economic measures to the first emergency decree, the so-called “Decreto Cura Italia” 18/20 containing general measures for the economy, workers and the industry which is now under discussion for transposition.

RADIO TER 2020 – March 31– June 15
Tavolo Editori Radio (TER) the agency responsible for radio audience measurement in Italy announced the temporary interruption of its service due to the pandemic. 

Drop in advertising revenues
Revenues for commercial radios has decreased by 50% in March. The industry expect a dramatic drop of up to 90% in April.

Largest State support for commercial media to date to overcome the coronavirus crisis
The Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) drafted a €1.6 millionCovid-19 electronic media crisis stabilisation plan to enable commercial radio and TV to operate in emergency situations, and to ensure that the public continues to receive quality and diverse information. The program will allow the media to retain journalists, presenters of popular programs and other content creators, providing them with much-needed social guarantees in times of crisis, while promoting fair rules in the post-crisis sector. The aid will by advocated by the Ministry of Culture this week and is to be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in the coming days.


Radiocentre launches new coronavirus-focused ad campaign
Radiocentre launched a new ad campaign to encourage advertisers to continue investing in radio. The ‘Business as usual, even when it’s not business as usual’ spot aims to help promote radio to brands that are still operating, need to communicate with their customers and are able to advertise in these difficult times.


Campaña de la AIR ante la desinformación y noticias falsas en tiempos de pandemia/ AIR’s campaign against disinformation and fake news during the pandemic
AIR/ IAB launched a campaign to raise awareness about the role and the importance of private radio and TV against fake news and disinformation in times of emergency.

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