When the people of Zurich got cheeky...

Regional TV TeleBasel is parting company with Tamedia's own advertising time sales company Medag at the end of the year.

Regional TV TeleBasel is parting company with Tamedia's own advertising time sales company Medag at the end of the year: TeleBasel is prematurely terminating the three-year exclusive contract with Medag, the advertising time sales company belonging to Tamedia, and intends to start its own acquisition department with two employees as of January 1, 2004. The decision is primarily based on the desire for greater proximity to the market and greater independence. Too often, the independent TeleBasel has been associated with media groups in terms of image - previously with Basler Zeitung Medien, now with Tamedia, says TeleBasel Managing Director Pia Bossert, but there are other reasons. Because there are personnel changes at Medag and Medag boss Hans-Ruedi Ledermann "may no longer be there by the middle of next year", the opportunity to become independent has been seized, adds Bossert. She also confirms rumors that Tamedia has exerted pressure on TeleBasel via Ledermann. For example, as part of TeleNewsCombi (TNC), which plans to offer the Trendpool from January. To this end, all TNC members should broadcast the TeleZüri programs "Swissdate" and "Lifestyle" in order to create a regional language advertising platform with an identical target group. "But we don't want a Zurich program. Our concept envisages programs with a regional focus," says Bossert.
For this reason, TeleBasel will broadcast its own program "Pur" instead of Lifestyle with
similar target group. And Swissdate will not be placed in prime time.
50 percent under budget
However, the most important reason for the separation is financial: "Medag has not been generating the jointly planned turnover for more than half a year. It is 50 percent below budget," says university professor Heinrich Löffler plainly. Löffler is President of the Committee of the Cable Network Foundation, the sponsor of TeleBasel (see box). This makes Löffler something like the chairman of the broadcaster's board of directors. TeleBasel is convinced that it can generate more advertising revenue without Medag, he says. This reflects the age-old suspicion that Medag, which also markets Radio Basilisk, is only half-heartedly committed to TeleBasel.
Medag did not wish to comment on any of this. However, Andreas Meili, Head of Electronic Media at Tamedia, admits that the agreed turnover was not achieved. "We had clear ideas about how to achieve the targets," he says. For example, TeleBasel had been suggested to create a more attractive advertising environment in its program with target group-specific broadcasts. However, because Tele Basel rejected this, Medag came to the conclusion that selling advertising was not worthwhile for the station. Meili: "In future, Medag wants to concentrate on the economically much more interesting sale of advertising for Radio Basilisk." Meili did not want to comment on the accusation that Tamedia had exerted pressure on the station via Ledermann. And when asked whether Ledermann would actually be leaving Medag, he replied succinctly: "That's wrong."
Special case TeleBaselTeleBasel is the only regional TV station to have the status of a
The public broadcaster is supported by the state-initiated cable network foundation, which owns the local cable network. In 1998, this foundation obliged the cable network operator Balcab (now part of Cablecom) to pay TeleBasel an annual indexed amount of
1.5 million francs. In addition, Balcab must pay off CHF 5.8 million in installments until 2010, including CHF 4 million to pay off an earlier debt.
According to Pia Bossert, the event is expected to generate a total turnover of 3.7 to four million francs, with advertising income of around 700,000 francs (2002: 77,000,000 francs). In addition, there are self-acquired sponsorship revenues of a good 300,000 francs. TeleBasel's broadcasting area covers 450000 people in over 200000 households.
The average daily reach is around 100,000 viewers. (mk)
Heinrich Löffler, President Balcab
Markus Knöpfli

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