Digitalization: Foreign channels more attractive, domestic channels fail simple features such as teletext
Monopoly position of the private operator with digital signal, political influences and control over the media and the operator, as well as the overall political ambiance, have sounded the alarm concerning the ever-increasing control in the country’s media space. Experts argue that instead of improving democratic communications, a so-called digital dictatorship is being installed in Macedonia, without respect for pluralism in all its aspects.
Digitalization of television signal in Macedonia did not contribute to democratization of communications and to greater media pluralism, although that was one of the main objectives according to the Council of Europe’s recommendations.
Digitalization had resulted in national televisions losing portion of their viewers on the account of foreign channels. Nielsen is the company selected to measure ratings, notably with the use of so-called “peoplemeters”. Now, ratings data can be bought by televisions and marketing agencies through the newly established body called the Industry Committee. Here, we analyse the extent to which this would help televisions manage their programme contents and thus regain their viewers.
Due to bureaucratic and political reasons, incapacity and rushed decision-making, taking major steps without prior consultations with all entities broadcasting contents, digital air in Macedonia is both underutilized and unattractive for private broadcasters. Commercial broadcasters complain about the extremely high prices and monopoly, while the public broadcaster, comfortably lulled in its imaginary power and elitist protection by the ruling party, is unable to move forward because the process was politicized.