Leading the Change - All Media Estonia
Less than a year ago, Providence Equity Partners closed the acquisition of MTG’s media assets in the Baltics, announcing plans for major investments with a focus on digital development. The deal gave the new owners control over the leading media companies in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which were united under the new brand All Media Baltics (AMB). The name of the new holding clearly reflects its ambition – leadership in all media segments.
The domination of flagship channels TV3 in each of the three countries will be used as a basis to create a new digital platform which is set to revolutionize the Baltic media market, offering unlimited opportunities in terms of content and technological solutions. TVBIZZ Magazine talked to Baiba Zūzena, CEO All Media Latvia, Priit Leito, CEO All Media Estonia, and Laura Blaževičiūtė, CEO All Media Lithuania, about the new strategy and ongoing transformation of their companies following the change of ownership.
CEETV publishes today the interview with Priit Leito, CEO All Media Estonia
Priit, what has changed at your company, following last year’s ownership change?
The biggest change is investments in new technology: HD transmission of our main channels and soon-to-be executed launch of web platform TVPlay.ee. Providence is very good owner as it guarantees our journalistic independence and development of our media assets. All Media Eesti currently operates the Number 1 commercial TV channel in Estonia, the Number 1 radio station and the Number 1 internet video portal. We have full confidence that under the new owner we will keep and strengthen our position. From everyday practical perspective people feel less bureaucracy and fast decision-making process which is especially important in the digital era.
TV3 led the charts in the commercial demo last year. What have been the results so far this year and what were the main hits for TV3 during the spring season?
TV3 continues to be the Number 1 commercial TV channel in Estonia with a 25% share of viewing in 2018. The total audience share of All Media Eesti channels is close to 50%. The spring season saw two main hits for TV3: the seventh season of Idols and the launch of high-quality historical drama Bitches dedicated to Estonia 100 year celebrations.
Idols had the best season ever with nearly everybody in the younger target groups watching the grand final (yes, young people do watch TV!). We like to think of TV3 as the creator of Stars in Estonia and a lot of new stars were born in the 2018 spring season. More than 50.000 people participated in the final phone voting during the final.
The series Bitches showed that commercial TV can also produce high-quality series and do that profitably. The new cooperation model with Telia was used allowing Telia subscribers to watch all episodes in a row for reasonable price.
The Estonian commercial nets left the FTA market last year. The process went pretty smoothly without any significant audience losses. TV3 recently launched its channels in HD. How are you planning to enrich your TV offer?
That is correct – the FTA market exit went very smoothly as there were less than 10% of the people in the country using FTA signal for TV viewing. We plan to enrich our offer by investing into high-quality content. The slogan of TV3 is “We are in the heart of Entertainment” and we take entertaining people to our heart and work very seriously. During the fall season we will add one new local series, two realities and one big studio format. Plus, we are investing in sports by showing Estonian heroes in the World Rally Championship or on the football field.
What is the current situation on the advertising market? How big is the digital threat for the TV players in Estonia?
The advertising market has been quite flat in 2018 and that is disappointing as the GDP of Estonia is growing at a rate of 3-4%. The digital threat is definitely there as Google and Facebook have changed the market not only in Estonia but worldwide. That being said – TV still remains the biggest mass medium with the best contact price and most of the big players on the market know that. We see big FMCG companies like L‘Oreal and Procter&Gamble increasing their investment in TV advertising. What we also see is a massive increase in TV advertising from online retailers – they know where to get valuable contacts!
Viaplay is among the most popular VOD services in Estonia. At the same time, All Media Baltics is planning to launch a new digital platform. Will Viaplay become part of it, or just complement it?
The plan is to launch a new digital platform which unites the current AVOD and SVOD assets and in addition brings in short-form content and TVOD solutions. Our aim is to become „The Coca-Cola of Video” in Estonia – we are everywhere, on all platforms, with our unique video content of best local productions, series and sports.