The Business Of Regional TV Stations Being Deprived Of Digital Airtime

Gayane Asryan


In each region of Armenia, there is one TV station broadcasting in the public multiplex, the rest reach their audience through their websites, social network pages, YouTube channels, and cable networks. 

Regional TV stations cover more local topics, but since they also have viewers outside the community and outside the region, they try to make their content more diverse. 

Media.am spoke with three of them to understand what content they create and, most importantly, how they deliver it to their audience. 

Angela Stepanyan, Editor of Art TV 

We have been deprived of digital broadcasting, but we have not stopped our activity for a moment. Instead, we are active in the online domain, we have strengthened our website, we prepare reports in accordance with the news block, and we write articles. We also have cable broadcasting. 

We work with good equipment, and take care of financial issues with grants and advertisements. There are seven employees in the main staff, in case of large grant programs we involve contract correspondents. 

The TV company’s website

We do not have thematic restrictions, but agriculture, the work of local self-government bodies, and the budget expenditures managed by them have a big place in our materials. 

Recently we have been doing more research in multimedia and Long Read formats. We were one of the first to start working in this format. For example, we do a lot of research on artesian water resources, which raises very serious and deep issues. 

The topic is difficult to digest, long, and may be less interesting for a person living in Yerevan. Therefore, we develop the content in a way that is interesting for those who live outside our community, as well as for the residents of the community and the representatives of the public administration system. 

We divided the topic into small parts with separate videos and announcements and adapted them to different audiences. We have different approaches to keeping regular readers and attracting new ones, we work with them on different social networking platforms also. 

We have tangible results, if in 2018-2019 we had 2500 readers, now the total viewers reach up to 200-250 thousand. The latest analytics tools help not only to understand the number of viewers, but also to get more in-depth data, such as how much time they spent browsing a particular material or what device they used to enter the site, and so on. 

Narine Avetisyan, Director, Editor-in-Chief of Lori TV 

We were deprived of digital broadcasting illegally, it slowed down our development, but also opened us up to new opportunities. Today we continue to work, create content and distribute it via cable channels in Vanadzor and surrounding communities. 

We now have airtime on Ucom and several local cable networks, we are going to work on the Team’s on-air network. 

This is the website of the TV company

To be honest, we have not lost much by losing digital broadcasting, because we recently found out in a survey that the viewership of digital TV channels has decreased in Vanadzor because people are not satisfied with Channel 7. Today in the city it is possible to get access to 70 channels for a monthly fee of 2,000 AMD. 

Outside of Vanadzor, we are followed through a website and social networks. We have also started to attract advertisements outside the region on healthcare and migration topics. 

Our patience, the support of journalistic organizations, and the funding of international organizations helped us to overcome difficult times. Now we only think about progress. Our goal is not to receive direct financing, but to reduce costs, for example, we are going to install solar panels, thus covering electricity costs and selling the surplus. 

We work within the framework of various programs of the European Union and the US Embassy, the main direction is the coverage of community life – the presentation of literate and smart agriculture. On our platforms we tell success stories about the people who live in the village, create good, and inspire others. 

With these publications, we also want to prevent the migration of rural communities to Vanadzor, Yerevan, and elsewhere. 

Hrachya Papinyan, Director of Angle + 3, Editor-in-Chief 

We had problems after the war, we stopped working for several months. There was a change of owners, and after some investment we were able to continue broadcasting. 

We have almost no advertising, it secures probably 1% of our finances, we mainly provide paid services, we make films and videos by order of the municipality, private individuals, we also rent equipment. 

This is the TV company’s studio

We have news and talk shows on the air. Last week we received the latest equipment, which will enable digital broadcasting for the cable network. We are going to cooperate with the regional Fortuna TV company. 

Our main activity is on the online platform, reports are posted on our website, YouTube, and social network pages. The interest in the content created by the TV company is growing day by day, if two years ago we had 5,600 viewers, now we have reached 20 thousand. 

At the end of June, we will secure 24-hour airtime. At the moment we have 15 employees, and the salaries for the region are quite competitive – 200-250 thousand AMD. 

We do not have a thematic orientation, social reports predominate. During political aggravations, we try to keep this topic at the center of attention. 

We are filming in many settlements of the region, in Stepanavan, Tumanyan, Akhtala, and elsewhere. Our main problem is related to transportation, it is difficult to be in many communities and take footage outside of the Lori region because we use taxis. If we can buy a car, we will increase the geography of our work. 

We also have a radio; we make our voice heard on the air of Mig radio station. According to the agreement, now we provide three hours a day in a news format. We have received positive feedback from drivers, which inspires us and obliges us to apply to the regional radio frequency competition in the future. 

Gayane Asryan 

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