To the Members of the Regional Group of Central and Eastern European EBU Members

Zagreb, 3rd November, 1999

Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends,
According to the conclusions regarding the activities of our Group, it is my pleasure to inform you that we are continuing with our active work. Enclosed please find the extensive material consisting of:
1. Report of the Vice-President of EBU (Boris Bergant) on some Current Issues
2. Report on the Meeting of the Television Committee (Marija Nemčić)
3. Report on the Meeting of the Radio Committee (Marija Nemčić)
4. Questionnaire for making the WEB-site of the CEE Members Group

Since we already discussed the making of our WEB site during the Berlin meeting and since I, being the Co-ordinator of the Group, took over the assignment, I kindly ask you to fill-in the Questionnaire at your earliest convenience and return it to me.

With kind regards and best wishes
Marija Nemčić
Tel. 385 1 616 3622
Fax. 385 1 616 3621

1. Report of the Vice-President on some Current Issues

As the Vice-President representing this regional group in the Presidency of the EBU, I would like to inform you regarding some activities initiated from our side at the General Assembly in Berlin:

* In Kosovo, we involved ourselves in the reconstruction of broadcasting. The EBU included itself on time and we managed to sign an agreement with the UN and the international civic authorities, which delegated the EBU the professional aspect of this task, as well as the support of the reconstruction and the introduction of a truly public service broadcasting. For the time being, a TV station is airing programmes for 2 hours 8 times a day, yet the radio is still in the hands of a more or less private initiative; however, we are discussing the possibility that the EBU after the onset of the TV programme will be assigned a wider task of a drafting a new uniform public broadcasting, which would represent the second phase.

All of you have received the request from Geneva to involve your journalistic and technical experts in this action and I would like to invite and call upon you to meet this request. We need experienced people and it is at the same time an opportunity to gain important experience to your experts. It is at the same time a kind of a one or two-month noviciate covered by the UN. It would indeed be nice, if there would be experts from our regional group in the field as well.

Furthermore, I am very pleased to establish that the permanent service has taken into consideration our comments and claims put on the table in Berlin:

(a) A thorough analysis of the personnel structure of the permanent service, which is regarding the presence of people from our midst even more negative than we thought it to be. This will certainly be the subject of discussion at the next Administrative Council.
This analysis will certainly be followed by a decision on the necessity of meeting the requirements regarding an adaptation of the personnel structure and the very clear obligation of including more people from our region.

(b) In this framework, we have achieved that there is a possibility of training or noviciates for different profiles (up to the age of 35) in Geneva for the lapse of 1 to 6 months, which is certainly of high value regarding our staffing needs.
All costs of accommodation in Geneva will be borne by the EBU, our stations will have to cover only the travel costs.

(c) On my claim, the permanent service drafted a co-financing scheme for the participation of the CEM group representatives at the EBU sessions.
In principle, they have agreed with the demand to co-finance the participation of one delegate from each organisation at meetings of all regular EBU bodies, whereby the amended Zeccini scale will be used as a basis (to the same extent as deduction of payments are granted to the members). The original proposal has to be slightly modified, since I persisted that those, who enjoy a 50% deduction of payments, should be paid the complete costs The coverage of costs applies also to those delegates from this group, who were appointed as representatives of one working body to another working body (The Radio and TV Committee). There will be still some arguments around this matter in December, but I am convinced that we achieved a major step forward in this field. For the first time the EBU took note of the fact that the richer members have to do something for the less fortunate in their own interest.

(d) As you know, also the complete management structure of the permanent service in Geneva with individual contracts expiring in 2000 has been put in question. The rules state that we have to approve the prolongation of their contract by the end of this year, which means that we are looking for new people.

Considering the fact that some of the directors are going to be retired and that replacements have to be found the natural way (radio, TV operations - the prevailing opinion is that the TV director should be replaced and the only consensus regarding a prolongation of mandate was reached for the director of the Legal Department), we have to consider the most discussed question of prolonging the mandate of the Secretary General.
The assessment of his work and the directions taken by the EBU under his leadership, especially the assessment of his management and the relations within the permanent service vary, there is no unanimous opinion, yet the prevailing viewpoint is that also the post of the Secretary General needs some fresh blood, a younger and more flexible person available for a longer period and perspective (the current Secretary General will retire in 3 years anyway). This trend of introducing new and fresh aspects would certainly suit the efforts of our group.

For the time being, it seems that we will agree on a formula, which will not provide the current Secretary General with a finalised answer regarding his perspectives by the end of this year. We will take the safe side by most probably announcing that he has to count on the contract not being prolonged, yet the final decision will be left, after a thorough exchange of views between the members, to the new Presidency, which will be elected next July and where there most certainly will not be the same President and two out of three Vice-Presidents.

We have to use the time for an even more thorough and detailed exchange of views and to formulate clear standpoints.

(e) Enclosed you will find a note of the head of Eurovision news agencies, Mr. T. Naets, who is concerned about the regional sub-exchange of news, which was implemented among our members on our explicit request. Due to some personnel changes this activity somehow waned.

I would kindly request you to inquire within your organisations, whether there is a need for such a regional exchange for Central and Eastern Europe (According to my opinion there is such a need, since there is practically no reception of our news or events via the regular exchanges, or at least there is not enough of it); we have by all means try to find some carriers for this task.

I will be most obliged for any suggestion or comments from your side, which will give me the chance to represent the interests of our region within the EBU even more decisively.

In case, you wish to get insight into the working papers concerning the above mentioned issues, I will gladly send them to you, just state your interest.

The last meeting of the EBU Presidency was held on October 1 and the next is foreseen for mid-November. The next Administrative Council session is planned in early December.

With kind regards and best wishes,
Boris Bergant
Ljubljana, October 6, 1999
Encl.: - note by T. Naets
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Subject: FEF: ESMT990929836062 - Eurovision Regional News Exchanges

As you are aware, I have strongly pushed in the past for the development - within the Eurovision news exchange system on the PNN - for regional news exchanges. However, they fall at present and for obvious reasons outside of the remit of the Eurovision news editor. They are designed to meet the specific needs of members in the region and I believe those members are really the only ones who can advise what is of interest.

Amongst the regional exchanges, the "Eastern" exchange (ERN-E) got off to a hesitant start, but considerable progress had been made in the past few years because of the personal commitment of a handful of people (Monika Gasiorowska at PL/TVP, Manuela Tanase at RP/TVR). However, these people have now moved on and it is clear that nobody is really actively looking after the exchange.

Although the news exchanges are an activity of members for members, they do require the active involvement of a "news editor" to solicit material and to ensure that items are available.

Is this something with which your organisation could now assist?

Many thanks for your interest and continued support.

Tony Naets
Head, Eurovision News Services

2. Report on the Meeting of the Television Committee (TVC)

The meeting was held in Geneva on 15th and 16th September, 1999. The main theme of the meeting was the report on the budget and the activities of the TV Department. The main topic was the relation between the General Budget (GB) and the "User-Payer" (UP) activities. Close examination of the relation between General Budget and UP activities shows that the reinforcement of the UP model begins at the level of the starting effort to set up professional exchange. Members should find an incentive to participate in new activities with a reasonable potential of expansion to the UP scheme.

The main questions raised are:
1. To what extent is GB activity acting as a foundation for UP development?
2. How do we deal with slowness of response as a collective entity, as compared to the pace at which members are taking new initiatives?
3. How do we approach research and development?

The choice of activities to initiate with GB resources is to be debated by the TVC. Concrete examples should be given of the need to put more resources in the GB. In the Television Department review of activities, a deadline was given to activities as well as a cyclic assessment of their performance, as a guarantee of the appropriate use of GB funds.

Members agreed that a TVC Sub-Group would meet to study in detail the TV Department activity review, discuss content, mark off priorities, evaluate available resources and what should be included in a prospective development fund. TVC decided that the TV Department activity needs to be presented in a clearer format. TV Department should, in consultation with the TVC, identify a set of criteria to review projects, identify areas of priority concerns for the future and bring together information on changes and ways to face these. GB for traditional activities should be distinguished from research and development money, the latter being an investment in creativity to help developing ideas as a basis for successful UP projects. A careful attribution of responsibility for the fund is important.

However, the question which is important to the members of our Group is the BALANCE between GB and UP activities? Namely, I am of the opinion that in the hasty increase of UP activities there is a danger that the idea and the purpose of the EBU by which all the members are equal, is reduced to the minimum and that after some time the very nature of the organisation is going to be changed. Namely, in most of the UP activities, the share of the smaller and financially weaker televisions is minimal. The reason for that is the consequence of the expensive and demanding co-productions. Apart from Sports and News, in how many co-productions is our Group taking part? I am of the opinion that in such structure of activities and above all the expenses, it has to be insisted on UP activities that are going to be within the reach of the bigger number of members, and not only of few of them. It seems to me that in the frame of UP activities a "Club" is created which starts to do business on commercial basis exclusively. This could be accepted to a certain degree if a part of this money is invested in some other activities. Such an operational principle creates even bigger differences among the members.

It seems to me that something similar is trying to be made in the field of sports rights acquisition. The Sports Group has determined new rules concerning the guarantors' group for the acquisition of sports rights. After revision by the Legal Department, they will be submitted to the TVC and to the Administrative Council (3rd December 99).

New rules: according to the new contract procedure, the guarantors decide on the distribution of amounts among the members. If all other guarantors consider that a member doesn't offer a sufficient amount, that member can be excluded from the operation. Once the rights are acquired, they can be offered in the country of that member to EBU members as well as non-members.

Questions raised
1. What objective criteria do we have to state that guarantors know the market better than the member who makes the offer?
2. Doesn't this system entail the wish to creating oppositions between members?

I find this topic particularly interesting for the future. So far, the role of the EBU was that of an agency for acquisition of sports' rights. Now we have the guarantors' group which actually buys the rights and then it offers these rights to the members and to commercial televisions as well. This is another detail in which it appears that the EBU is changing, little by little, the very essence and the purpose of its existence.

In other activities of TVC there were no themes of considerable importance. However, I think that on UP activities and sports we have to have our attitude and discussion on these themes.

3. 13th Ordinary Meeting of the Radio Committee

The Meeting was held in London on 30th September 1999.

1) The main topics of the Meeting were:
Analysis of the EBU Multimedia Forum conclusions:
Due to the importance of the theme it was concluded that the Multimedia Forum should be held every year. In the same way as there is a Radio Committee and a TV Committee, there should be a permanent multimedia working party (Webmaster's group)

2) EBU DAB Task Force
First of all, more concrete answers were expected from the Task Forces group. It was expected that radio will be cheap, simple and accessible, therefore there is certain resistance to expensive receivers.

3) Market trends in the Radio Industry - SIS Project
Strategic Information Service (SIS) designs and offers to EBU members a range of dedicated analytical services. But the results have been quite poor for the Radio. Therefore considering the above, SIS has recently decided to invest more energies and resources in the Radio project.

4) Millennium European Radio Days
The change from a single day to the whole weekend of Friday 23rd to Sunday, 25th June 2000 was accepted.
So, there is a common agreement on the date, the shared projects ("Voices of Europe") and the events conceived by each particular organisation ("open house" etc.), whereas the pop music events, the "European phone-in" and the Internet projects, together with any additional, imaginative ways to celebrate the European Radio Days 2000, still need to be defined.

5) Folk and Traditional Music
Folk and Traditional Music activities, except the Opera record releases, should be managed by the Folk and Traditional Music Project Group. No further attempts to define the terms "folk", "contemporary", "traditional" should be made. From now on, all Folk and Traditional Music pink offers should be sent to both the Folk Music and Serious Music EBU mailing lists.

6) Sublicensing of Radio Sports Rights
One reason for establishing a sublicensing scheme would be to avoid, if possible, legal action against the EBU in the European Community by Non-Members.

7) Any Other Business
A question was raised about the possibility of EBU starting a radio station in Kosovo since EBU is already involved with television in the region. Mr. J.B. Munch will investigate the political possibilities of starting the radio station there.

Radio Barcelona kindly offered to host the next Radio Assembly which will be held in Madrid on 13th and 14th April, 2000.

4. WEB-site Questionnaire

1) Name of the Organisation and Address (English)

2) Who is Who? 5-6 top persons in the Organization (name, function, phone, fax, e-mail)

3) Co-ordinator for the CEE Group (name, function, phone, fax, e-mail)

4) General Data:

  • total population
  • number of households
  • GDP in million in your currency
  • GDP per capita in your currency
  • Value of your currency in Euro
  • Value of your currency in US $
  • Total number of TV households
  • Licence fee/year

5) Text about the Organisation OR link to the Organisation's Web-site

6) TV landscape

  • number and names of domestic channels + their nature (private or public)
  • audience shares on main channels
  • top 10 domestic programmes of your organisation

7) Your suggestions for the Web-site

What will apprear on the CEE Group's Web-site

1) List of members and information about members

2) Book of regulations, and minutes of all meetings

3) Info-site, for exchange of news related to EBU and to our organisations

4) Advertisements (programme exchange) - if you are looking for a co-producer or you have an idea for a programme, or you have a good programme for selling or exchange, this is the place to advertise it.

5) References, key facts - a spot where one could gather and compare certain laws, texts on media etc.

Why is it important to nominate your country's co-ordinator for Radio or Television?

Only because of promptness and because this person knows the best who the materials should be distributed to. If you are in no position to give one person, then we shall continue to distribute the materials to all the addresses. It is essential that these persons have the e-mail address.

Kindly fill-in this Questionnaire at your earliest convenience and return it to:
Ms Marija Nemčić
Prisavlje 3, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
fax 385 1 616 3622

HRT has already made the basic site and you will receive the address soon.