National Televisions Elude Taxes, Opposition-Linked Channels Pay
16 August, 2012
National Televisions Elude Taxes, Opposition-Linked Channels Pay

 

Georgian television landscape remains closely linked with politics. Ahead of the October 2012 elections, developments in the television sector mirror the highly polarized political environment in Georgia. All major stations that survey current affairs content, either belong to the pro-government camp or, with some nuances, appear to support a change in government and the opposition. The pro-governmental televisions accrue tax duties up to millions while the pro-oppositionists clear tax-duties completely.

 

Georgian television landscape is politically polarized: all TV stations that provide

current affairs coverage – on the national as well as on the local level – are perceived as favoring one political camp or the other. None of the stations (with the exception of the Patriarchate’s channel), including the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), funded by tax-payers money, are perceived as truly independent actors that provide balanced news coverage, holding both political camps equally accountable. These are major findings of a new report published by a non-governmental Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) on August 10, 2012.

TV remains the most important source of information on current affairs. In Tbilisi, 80% of people first turn to their TV for news. Outside the capital, 92% of the population name television as their main source of information on current affairs.  In 2011, Georgians watched on average 253 minutes of TV per day.

The dominant role of television in media encourages both the ruling opposition parties to establish a sphere of influence over key television stations and technical infrastructure.

Therefore the temporary introduction of must-carry regulation –that requires cable operators include licensed TV stations into their packages in the weeks before the October 1 parliamentary election – has been an important step in the right direction.

A NDI survey from June 2012 highlights that the vast majority of the population turns to the two national private stations for news, with 86% of respondents saying they watch current affairs coverage on Imedi and Rustavi 2 – both imputed with the ruling party influence.  60% watch Channel 1 (PBC) believed to be connected with the authority too.

Survey data also indicates that Maestro and Kavkasia [the favorite channels to opposition fans] have increased their news audiences in the past year. If only 6% of respondents said they watched political coverage on Maestro in spring of 2011 the figure increased to 19% in 2012; Kavkasia saw an increase from 9% (2011) to 19% (2012). Only 5% of respondents said they watched current affairs coverage on TV9 [affiliated with political tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili and his political coalition Georgian Dream] in 2012. 74% said they do not have reception of the station.

The popularity of pro-governmental Rustavi 2 and Imedi is partly explained by their better technical ability to reach about 96% of all Georgian households. The taxpayer-funded Channel 1 only reaches about 82% of TV households. Stations that provide a critical view of the government’s activities suffer from their limited technical reach: 31% of respondents said they could receive Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV, 23% receive Maestro TV, and 15-20% is supposed to get an access to TV9.

Available financial data shows that Imedi and Rustavi 2 play in a very different league than other channels when it comes to revenues. In 2011, Rustavi 2 reported revenues of GEL 39.294.999, Imedi of GEL 28.132.817. However, reported revenues of both dropped by about GEL 1million from January to April 2012 compared to the same period a year before. Advertising revenues and ‘other’ income decreased, while income from sponsorship increased. The main source to advertising revenues for Imedi and Rustavi 2 is likely to originate from government advertising campaigns funded with taxpayer money, although no financial data on the extent of government advertising on national TV is publicly available.

On the other hand, pro-oppositionist channels’ incomes tripled and even increased five-fold compared to 2011.  Maestro’s reported revenues soared from GEL 50.607 in 2011 to GEL 280.811 in 2012. Its advertising revenue was GEL 651.950 from March to June of 2012. Kavkasia revenues increased from GEL 123.036 in 2011 to GEL 303.553 this year as a result of higher advertising revenues mostly on expense of Georgian Dream. Private sector advertising dwindled in the reported period.

One interesting thing at Georgian TV market is that oppositionist TV channels especially Kavkasia and Maestro are the law-obedient tax-payers while pro-governmental channels elude taxes.

According to Georgian Revenue Service (RS) website, Imedi owes GEL 13.9 million in taxes, Rustavi 2 - GEL 5.5 million and the GPB - GEL 3.5 million. All accrued since a tax amnesty of 2010 that erased GEL 36 million of liabilities from the books of Georgian TV stations and major beneficiaries of tax amnesty were the national TV channels. Trialeti TV and a few other media outlets had accumulated some minor tax obligations of less than GEL 10 thousand. A small part of the amnesty also benefitted TV stations critical of the government: Channel 25 was relieved of some GEL 277. 500, and Trialeti TV was forgiven some GEL 45 thousand.

Kavkasia and Maestro TV at the time owe no taxes and enjoyed no amnesty.

 

Print
Other Stories
Business Positive – Successful radio program from Radio Positive
Starting point of radio program Business Positive is to meet interesting people, communicate with them and deliver information that is interesting for the audience.
A factory of electric vehicles to be built in Kutaisi
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated that a factory of electric vehicles will be built in Kutaisi at the presentation of the Aigroup business group.
Qvevri-shaped hotel complex to be built in Telavi
A Qvevri-shaped hotel complex is scheduled to be built in the village of Shalauri in Telavi, Kakheti (east part of Georgia).
Georgian designers presented at Fashion World Tokyo 2019
The products of 11 Georgian designers are showcased at Fashion World Tokyo 2019,
Silknet raises $200 million in Eurobond issue
27 March 2019 - JSC Silknet (“Silknet”), one of Georgia’s leading telecommunications operators, has successfully priced a debut $200 million 5-year 11% senior unsecured bonds issue (the “Notes”).
Pistachio trees will be planted in Georgia
Dozens of hectares of Pistachio are planned to be planted in Georgia this year.
Toyota Safety Sense and Hybrid Technology
Toyota Caucasus, has presented two new models the 5th generation RAV4 and the 12th generation Corolla at Rustavi International Motorpark, several days ago.
Bidzina Ivanishvili “became number one oppressor of businesses in Georgia” - ICC Georgia chairman Fady Asly
Mr. Ivanishvili promised the business community to protect them from harassment and pressure, unfortunately his words died with the sunset of that day
The best brands of Belarus will be exhibited on a large-scale exposition in Tbilisi
"The Belarusians like to come to Georgia to relax near the sea in Batumi as well as to stay in sunny Kakhetia."
Don’t treat business like a hooker! - Georgian businessman Vasil Soprpmadze addresses politicians
Businessman Vasil Sopromadze, founder of the company "Fresco", addresses politicians
RAV4 No Compromise and Corolla Set to Impress – Two New Cars Presented by Toyota
Toyota Caucasus, the company constantly aspiring to greatness, has presented two new models the 5th generation RAV4 and the 12th generation Corolla.
Mamuka Khazaradze quits TBC bank, does not sell the TBC Bank share
I made a decision to leave TBC bank where I spent 27 years of my life
10 Reasons to buy an apartment in the suburbs
There is a tendency for Tbilisi dwellers to move from central parts of the capital to the suburbs.
Georgian citizens are granted the right to work in France
The French Embassy in Georgia made remarks on granting Georgian citizens the right to work in France
The New York Times: Bitcoin declines but Georgia still bet on it
The New York Times has recently published an article about reasons, challenges and causes of generating Bitcoin in the former Soviet country Georgia.
EU to allocate € 13 billion for Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia
The European Union together with the World Bank plans to allocate investment worth € 13 billion for infrastructure projects in the Eastern Partnership countries.
Anaklia Port and its importance for Georgia
In 2016, Anaklia Development Consortium was authorized to launch the construction of Anaklia Port.
Cryptocurrency mining threatens electrical network in Abkhazia
In the breakaway region of Akbhazia rampant cryptocurrency mining is threatening the shaky electrical network, reports an article of the news portal EuroNet.
Caucasus Wine University to be opened in Gurjaani
In the Kakheti region a new viticulture campus of the Caucasus University is in the process of planning.
Photos describing life of the poorest in Georgia
Fight with poverty should be among top priorities of every government in every country.
Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia
Even drizzling rain and unpleasant gusts of wind can’t prevent the farmers from coming and participating in the agricultural training.
Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope
Organic hazelnut production is a delicate plant in Georgia that has emerged just a couple of years ago. Various pests, among them the Asian stink bug Parosana, trouble hazelnut farmers and menace their livelihood – even before their businesses could really take off.
Hybrid car imports are going through the roof in Georgia
Thanks to their fuel economy, the popularity of hybrid cars is increasing in Georgia, where fuel affordability is low and prices for fuel are unstable.
The New Year offer from MAQRO Construction - Apartments with unbelievable discounts and the parking spaces for FREE!
Location, green yard, spaces for various needs, experience of the construction company and parking space are the main important criteria for potential buyers of apartments.
Interview with the co-founder of Kiwi Vegan Café – the first vegan place in Tbilisi
Behind the Kiwi Vegan Café stands a group of activists who wants to raise Georgian’s awareness for animal rights and welfare.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
18.04.2019
19.04.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6931
2.6939
EUR
1
EUR
3.0456
3.0323
GBP
1
GBP
3.5137
3.5053
RUB
100
RUB
4.2150
4.2087
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6939
EUR
1
EUR
3.0323
GBP
1
GBP
3.5053
RUB
100
RUB
4.2087
April 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30