From “PanArmenian Media Group” To “Quartet Media,” Then Bankruptcy

Nune Hakhverdyan

Art critic, journalist

The “Quartet Media” company is leaving the media field of Armenia, the founders of which have spread an announcement about the termination of their activity. The reason is funding problems and fruitless attempts to find new financial sources.

“Quartet Media” included “ArmNews” TV company, Tert.am website, “ArmNews FM” radio.

“Quartet Media” was created in 2019, becoming a smaller version of the previously large (and the only large) media holding, “PanArmenian Media Group․”

Until 2018, when the political situation changed, “PanArmenian Media Group” was the main player on TV. In terms of advertising streams, ratings, and political opportunism, it had no competitors.

In addition to radio companies, print newspapers, and online media (as well as news aggregators), it consisted of three major TV companies: “Armenian,” “ArmNews,” and ATV. All of them were managed and financed from one center and had clear goals.

For example, as the executive director of the holding said in 2015, the goal of “ArmNews” is to make the news attractive to a young audience, uniting politics and show business. By the way, he also said that the only supply pipe of the giant holding is the money received from advertising. And they fully satisfy the media outlets included in the holding.

But in reality, it was the money that in many cases determined the policy of that holding, which can be described as extremely loyal to the political elite of that time.

After 2018, “PanArmenian Media Group” could no longer exist in the same way. It had lost its role, the large volume of advertising orders, and, most importantly, its financial expediency.

The holding ceased to exist, the shareholders and owners changed. “Armenian” and ATV separated, and “ArmNews” became the key media of the newly formed smaller holding.

Quartet Media” CJSC, the founders of which were Arman Saghatelyan, Karen Bekaryan, Mihran Hakobyan, and Samvel Farmanyan (all of them were RPA deputies), tried to play a serious role in the media field, but already with the position of extreme opposition.

For the past two years, ArmNews has been offering a clear political orientation, broadcasting to those who were willing to criticize state decisions (sometimes appropriate, sometimes inappropriate) or to criticize the current government with the latest speeches and blame society for its unpromising stance.

This editorial policy was probably observed after the overdue and meaningless snap parliamentary elections in Armenia when it became clear that the political atmosphere will not change and it is difficult to wait for the former elite to regain its authority and weight.

There are such words in the announcement on the termination of the activity of “Quartet Media.”

“During this period we have received many political proposals for cooperation and rejected them, as they differed from our principles. We have also discussed several sales proposals, but we have not been able to find ones that would allow us to maintain the adopted policy and remain faithful to the path we have chosen.”

The mention of the principles is very appropriate in the case of “Quartet Media,” because as it was seen especially on the air of “ArmNews,” the principles were really a priority. Even more important than journalistic impartiality and ethics.

But in today’s tumultuous media field, where there are no more red lines and news is often replaced by overt propaganda or overt PR, the weighed media platforms are more valuable and have more market value.

In any case, they have a chance to be independent. Or just to exist.

The news about the liquidation of “Quartet Media” must now be transferred to the legal sphere. And since “ArmNews” had a slot license in the public multiplex, it must be suspended.

Tigran Hakobyan, Chairman of the Television and Radio Commission, said that according to the law, a new tender should be announced. This process can take up to four months. The same is expected for “ArmNews FM” radio, which is broadcast under the “Good Radio” brand.

The owners of the frequency and slot will change.

And we can assume that if not now, then in the near future attempts will be made to create new media holdings.

Those in power usually want to be dictators in the media as well.

There is such a thought in the statement of “Quartet Media.” “…And the media, as a platform for obtaining and covering facts, has significantly exhausted itself, because there are no more unexplained facts and essential circumstances. Everyone knows everything about everyone.”

Of course, it is heavy news that a media outlet is closing down, but it is interesting that the closing media outlet is sure that there are no unexplained facts. Probably those are the only ones that exist.

In an unexplained reality, everything is essential.

Nune Hakhverdyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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