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Letter From the Editor
Looking Forward to Boredom
By Sanita Jemberga
Despite the wars and turbulences in world around us, for the Baltic media 2014 was a year of relative stability.
Latvia and Lithuania slipped a place in the Freedom House index of media freedom (to 28th and 25th from 180), and Estonia stayed where it was (16th). The slip was not due for a particularly worsening situation. The Baltic nations are still among 14% of world’s inhabitants who live in a countries with a free press.
No big media players entered the Baltic media market, but none left, too. Estonian tycoons continued the trend to acquire outlets in the other Baltic countries, consolidating their leadership in the sector.
The trends are the same as elsewhere. Newspapers continue their downslide (but they are still pretty alive). Online keeps growing. Television still dominates. Financially, 34 of the 53 companies that directly own the 75 most popular media outlets in the Baltics have managed to increase turnover. 70% of them have managed to work with a profit, with Latvia’s TV3 as an absolute leader.
In the last year’s report, we looked at the impact of the economic crisis to Baltic media finances and the ownership of the Baltic media. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia, 2014 turned into a year of soul-searching about how to reach the hearts and minds of Baltic Russians who have lived largely in their separate world since the restoration of independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Our main in-depth story looks into the different solutions all three countries have chosen. It was also the year of the strengthening of public broadcasters which got them into some hot water (see more in the new series “Digging Deeper”). It might have been a stable year, but with no boredom in sight.
Report Baltic Media Health Check 2014-20153.51 MB, pdf