Nova bounces back in tv ad war as market recovers from slide

Photo: romexico / freeimages

For a while the commercial television market in the Czech Republic looked like it might be in store for a major overhaul with the country’s second biggest group, Prima, threatening to leave e traditional market leader Nova in its wake.

Photo: romexico / freeimages
Those expectations climbed in 2013 when perhaps overconfident Nova bosses hiked up their advertising rates in the expectations that the big multinationals would grudgingly pay up but keep with them.

Not so. What took place was what amounted to a revolt by the advertising big spenders when they quit Nova and jumped ship to Prima. Even with the country still picking itself up from recession, the number of advertising spots screened on Prima chains jumped that year by 64 percent. It’s billed advertising revenue jumped to 14.33 billion crowns, more than twice the shrunken 6.38 billion billed by Nova.

Nova, it seems, has learnt the lesson the hard way. Ad rates were hastily dropped and the big multinationals, such as Oreal, Nestlė, and retailer Ahold, returned to the fold. The Czech milk cow for the CME media empire is now firmly back as a significant market player in what again looks like a two horse race, according to a report in Thursday’s business daily Hospodářskė Noviny.

Nova’s advertising earnings rebounded by 63 percent last year to 10.4 billion crowns, according to the company’s own billed advertising rates. These are normally reckoned to substantially inflate real earnings because they don’t show the discounts are offered to advertisers.

In contrast, Prima’s advertising earnings climbed cautiously in 2014 to 14.62 billion crowns. Other competitors for the advertising market, Barrandov and public broadcaster Czech Television, more or less pick up the crumbs with revenues of 3.32 billion crowns and 1.55 billion crowns respectively.

According to some analysts, the fact that Prima’s advertising rates are in reality a lot more flexible than Nova’s means that in terms of real revenue, Nova in all probability jumped back to its traditional position as the biggest commercial tv earner last year.

As regards viewers, Nova clearly grabs around a third of the total Czech tv audience while the Prima Group can count on just over a quarter. Public broadcast Czech Television has just under a third of viewers but it can only place adverts on selected channels according to rather bizarre legislation.

Czech company Admosphere reports that the tv advertising market grew by 11 percent last year to 31.2 billion crowns. But these figures are once again contested with some analysts arguing the market is still smaller than the 30.1 billion of 2012 and is only slowing climbing from the drop to 27.8 billion in 2013.

Manager of the media group Dentsu Aegis Network, Petr Chajda, told the paper that he only expects revenues to hit 2012 levels again this year.