It is more difficult for regional television companies to have stable financing because they are limited not only by the topics but also by the geography of the area. Sponsors and advertising are even less than in the case of capital media.
Many regional TV stations were deprived of digital broadcasting and had to cooperate with different cable networks. Also, they stopped being regional correspondent points due to the financial problems and political positions of television companies working in Yerevan.
In the conditions of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, 44-day war, and military situation, they continue to search for money. And they find it. In contrast to the state and capital TV stations, the regional ones are more flexible and choose different ways to attract money.
Regional television companies are interesting for advertisers only in cases when the advertiser’s service is concentrated in a given region or they offer a product that will be consumed by the residents of those communities.
The advertising budget of the Gyumri “Tsaig” TV station was greatly affected as a result of the restriction of the advertising of gambling games on the air. By law, any kind of advertisement of a gambling game, Internet winning game, casino, totalizer, or their organizers are prohibited in the media.
In the program submitted to the competition commission, the RFA, the TV company planned the budget for several years with different forecasts, but the advertising or other legislative changes in the gaming industry became a serious financial blow for the TV company.
Many regional television companies create thematic content in order to attract advertising. For example, Armavir’s “ALT” television company specializes in coverage and investigations of agricultural, environmental, and regional issues, and Vanadzor’s “Lori” television company tries to find advertisers outside the region on health and migration topics.
Alaverdi’s “Ankyun+3” TV company has almost no advertising, 1% of its finances come from advertising, it mainly provides paid services, makes films and videos on the order of the municipality and private individuals, and also rents out equipment.
Rental and commercial orders
In addition to “Ankyun+3,” many regional TV stations deal with renting and commercial orders, especially in crisis situations.
“ALT” TV company’s financial problems started in 2016 when Armenia switched to 100% digital broadcasting. ALT continued to distribute its media products through cable television operators. Initially, in order to solve the financial problems, they leased the TV tower’s own premises.
It is difficult to predict the financial income of the TV company. It is very important for them to have stable incomes obtained through renting, thanks to which it is possible to cover at least the minimum expenses of the TV company.
In the near future, they will try to digitize the archival materials of the TV station and provide users with the opportunity to download them on a paid basis.
All television companies, including “Tsaig,” broadcast paid announcements, and prepare advertising programs and videos.
The most financially secure period for regional TV stations is the pre-election period.
During the 2020 parliamentary elections, “Fortuna” and “Tsaig” earned the most money during the campaign, about 27 million AMD.
The latter earns money both from the sale of airtime and by developing a grant program to give the parties equal airtime during the pre-election period. The participants are included in the programs on a free basis, and their messages, videos, propaganda, and other informational materials are posted on a paid basis.
Many regional TV stations have grant programs. For example, in the case of “Tsaig” it is the main means of financing, after being deprived of the air, “ALT” was able to implement a number of grant programs.
“Lori” television company, for example, works within the framework of various programs of the European Union and the US Embassy, the main focus is coverage of community life and presentation of literate and intelligent agriculture. On their platforms, they cover success stories about the people who live in the village, create something good and inspire others.
The grant programs of regional TV stations are mostly thematic.
Cable networks and Internet platforms
Cable networks are a good opportunity for regional TV stations both in terms of delivering their products to the audience and generating revenue.
For example, the “Lori” television company now has airtime on Ucom and Tim’s air network and cooperates with several local cable services.
“Ankyun+3” also gets airtime on the cable network and cooperates with the regional “Fortuna” TV company.
“Tsaig” has great experience working with television companies of the capital and the state, it acted as a correspondence point for many years, but now that connection has been interrupted because the nature of the cooperation has a more political context.
The TV company also receives some income from Internet resources: YouTube, and Google. The rest of the TV companies are still working to expand their online audience.
For example, two years ago, “Ankyun+3” had 5600 views, and now it has already reached 20 thousand. “ALT” TV station had 2500 readers in 2018-2019, now the total views reach up to 200-250 thousand.
Everyone agrees that online monetization can provide incomplete but stable finances.
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