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EXPERTS FORCED TO EAT WORDS AS TELEVISION STATION CAPTURES NICHE MARKET

Slovak news-only station thrives

WHEN TA3 established itself in 2000, pundits considered the idea of a national news-only television station "an inadequate prediction of the media market".
It was believed that Slovakia, with its population of 5 million, simply would not "feed" a Slovak television station dedicated to news.
Today, advertisers are finding their way to TA3, and the station's advertising income is growing.
Olívia Trnkalová is the public relations manager at TA3. She explained to The Slovak Spectator that TA3 is based on the assumption that Slovak viewers are interested in an on-going news station from a Slovak point of view.

WHEN TA3 established itself in 2000, pundits considered the idea of a national news-only television station "an inadequate prediction of the media market".

It was believed that Slovakia, with its population of 5 million, simply would not "feed" a Slovak television station dedicated to news.

Today, advertisers are finding their way to TA3, and the station's advertising income is growing.

Olívia Trnkalová is the public relations manager at TA3. She explained to The Slovak Spectator that TA3 is based on the assumption that Slovak viewers are interested in an on-going news station from a Slovak point of view.

"We offer up-to-date news programmes, discussions, comments and analysis throughout the day," Trnkalová told The Slovak Spectator.

According to her, the assumption that Slovaks want access to a streaming news source on TV conducted in Slovak and by Slovaks is on target.

On September 11, 2001, national viewers first got in touch with TA3 by watching its coverage of the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. Since then, according to Trnkalová, TA3 has become a permanent part of the media market.

Despite its favourable development on the Slovak television market, Trnkalová doubts that another news-only station would survive. According to her, there simply is "not enough room".

"The Slovak market is relatively small, and from a long-term point of view, it is unlikely that it could feed two competing television news stations," she said.

Still, TA3's advertising income has increased by 20 percent since 2003.

Trnkalová explains that advertisers that buy commercial space on TA3 are targeting a particular group of people, mainly university-educated, medium- to high-wage earners.

Ads seen on TA3 are geared toward its viewer profile: those in the financial services sector, such as bank, insurance and leasing employees, and individuals working in information technology, data services and travel agencies.

"For a specialised television station, it might be simpler to address a specific group of people. In the end, however, it is management that decides how to best leverage TA3's market potential," Trnkalová said.

According to TA3, foreign news programmes are only an indirect source of competition for the Slovak-based company.

"International news stations like CNN and others need to address a global audience. Their content has to be attractive to people from several continents. For us, the Slovak viewers' priorities are the most important," said Trnkalová.

From the Visegrad Four countries, only the Czech Republic does not have a national news station.

CEN operates TA3. J&T Financial Group is CEN's major shareholder.

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