2004 will be key year

Developments in the mass media are not easy to predict, but are expected to become clearer, especially after the Olympic Games in 2004. «In Greece, the mass media do not operate, as do enterprises, on a cost-benefit basis, but have other aims, interests and outlook,» said Assistant Professor Stelios Papathanassopoulos of the Faculty of Communications and Mass Media Studies at Athens University. «Given this, any predictions on the development of mass media are similar to forecasts of the weather three months from now. Nevertheless, everyone knows that Greece is a small market with a plethora of stations and newspapers that is quite impossible for it to support. There will be changes, therefore, after the Olympic Games in 2004.» More specifically, «circulation figures are out of sync with the number of papers, especially in Athens, where they already number 23. That means smaller newspapers will be forced to close. The same applies to magazines, which, due to intense competition from press and television, are going through a restructuring phase.» Things look little better for television. «The reduction in real advertising revenue has already prompted cuts. This means some stations will have to thin out their programs, in the first phase, before they cease functioning all together. Larger stations will merge. «Radio is already in recession but it is certain we’ll see stations broadcasting nationwide, which will mean more change, especially in local radio stations. «Finally, growth of new media, the Internet and digital television will be disappointing until 2005. Afterward, due to international developments, they will acquire a new momentum.»