The proliferation of ‘lame duck’ media

The unenviable financial status of most Greek media companies – the subject of an article in yesterday’s edition – is well illustrated in the adjacent tables. This situation is largely perpetuated as a result of favorable treatment by governments, which, anxious to maintain and promote their influence on public opinion, provide special revenue lifelines for media enterprises. These lifesavers appear mostly in the form of directed state advertising, or the publication of announcements compulsory by law for companies and local authorities, such as periodic financial statements. Another recent booster was the decision to gradually decrease the special tax on advertisements on television until it is eliminated. According to some estimates, this will mean a loss in revenues to the state of about 80 million euros per year. As the tables show, most of the daily press publications posted huge losses last year and many of them even reported negative equity capital and accumulated losses of millions of euros. It also shows that at the end of 2004, just one of five major TV stations, Mega Channel, was free of accumulated losses, with Alpha Satellite Television carrying a staggering 90.24 million euros of such loss. In the first nine months of 2005 only one of the four stock-market-listed publishing groups was profitable.