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TI-Georgia: TVs Lose Money, Pro-Government Media Dominates the Ads Market

Transparency International-Georgia, a local watchdog, reported on the state of the TV advertising market. In 2022, the report reads, the annual trend of growth in advertising revenues of the TV broadcasters, dominant since 2019, was reversed.

TI-Georgia says that in 2022, the total advertising revenue of TV and radio broadcasters decreased by 7.6% compared to the previous year of 2021, amounting to GEL 79.9 million. If we take the TV broadcasters separately, the rate of decline was almost the same, 7.8%. The report says advertising forms 67.5% of the total revenue of the broadcasters.

TI-Georgia says the 2022 changes to the Law on Broadcasting, which prohibited gambling advertisement, were largely responsible for this decline, especially since the legislation was rushed through the parliament, giving the broadcasters little time to adjust.

TVs lose money

Broadcasting remains an unprofitable business in Georgia. TI-Georgia says, “None of the five TV stations that receive the biggest revenues from broadcasting made a profit in 2021, and they again ended the year with losses.”

Public and private infusions

TI Georgia says that the total revenue of TV and radio broadcasters in 2022 was GEL 281.4 million. This includes public funding and other non-broadcasting revenues.

Just as before, Formula TV, which is a critically minded TV channel, got most of such revenues, mostly from private sponsors and funders. They are followed by the ruling party mouthpiece, Imedi TV, and sharply critical Mtavari Arkhi.

The openly pro-Kremlin Alt-Info, received GEL 984,887.65, almost entirely from a donation by 50 percent stakeholder Tsiala Morgoshia. Obiektivi TV, another anti-Western outlet, got GEL 830,144.27, of which 52.8% were commercial ads and the remainder – direct contributions. By contrast, a pro-governmental and anti-Western POSTV got GEL 5,058,697.91, out of which 84.2% came from advertising and the rest from non-broadcasting sources.

TV Imedi leads the commercial ads market

In 2022, the largest share of the advertising revenue – GEL 27,329,246 – went to pro-government Imedi Holding. This was followed by opposition-leaning Mtavari Arkhi with GEL 10 mln. Media Holding Rustavi 2, which is also leaning towards the government, got with GEL 9 mln. Follow the opposition-minded TV Pirveli with GEL 5.8 mln and Formula with GEL 5.7 mln.

Political and paid public service ads

Citing the State Audit Office, the report says the political parties GEL 1.1 mln, 17% of their expenses, to self-promotion in 2022.

The Georgian Dream party is leading with GEL 688,325, while the “Citizens” party came a distant second, spending GEL 14,482. Most parties focused on Internet advertising, billboards, and promotional materials, with only two parties buying time on TV. The bulk of the Georgian Dream’s advertising budget went towards Facebook, Internet ads, and billboards.

A total of GEL 362,878 was spent on social ads in 2022. “A large part of this amount – GEL 269.9K – was received by broadcasters loyal to the authorities – Media Holding/Rustavi 2 and POSTV, while the remaining amount (GEL 92,986) was directed to other broadcasters,” TI Georgia notes.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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