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
The World Digital Mining Summit to be held in Georgia
The summit is scheduled to take place between 21st-23rd September in the Hualing Hotel, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Galt and Taggart - Tourism Boom Continues in Georgia
Tourism has become one of the key drivers for the Georgian economy. Galt and Taggart has recently published research about the Georgian tourism sector in the first half of 2018.
"The worst dream for Putin is that Russians want to live in Georgia"
This year, visitors to the Adjara region would notice that there is a boom in construction in and around Batumi.
Underground gas storage facility to be built in Georgia
KfW, a German government-owned development bank signed a EUR 150 million promotional loan with the state-owned Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) for the construction of the first underground gas storage facility in Georgia.
New gambling rules for Georgia
Georgian lawmakers are preparing a new draft law relating to online-casinos and gambling that will seek to curb gambling addiction in Georgia.
How expensive is it to visit Georgia?
The Georgian Lari (GEL) is the official currency of Georgia and is the only legal means of payment in the entire territory of Georgia.
Trade with the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has grown significantly
Trade with the EU and the CIS has grown by 26% and 33.5 % respectively, says GeoStat, the Georgian National Statistics Office.
The unemployment rate decreases in Georgia
The unemployment rate decreased in Georgia by 1,9% and amounted to 12.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter,
Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Georgia and Malaysia
According to the Georgian Ambassador to Malaysia Nikoloz Apkhazava, Georgia plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia.
“Blauenstein Georgia” due to expand in Georgia
“Blauenstein Georgia” is planning to open more shops in Georgia. It is an agriculture company that sells meat products, meat and convenience food.
The amount of Direct Foreign Investment rises in Georgia
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of direct foreign investment in Georgia has risen
It’s going to get  harder for foreigners to get residence permit in Georgia
It’s going to get harder for foreigners to get permit of residence in Georgia.
Mziuri Park in Tbilisi to be renovated soon
It was the dream of prominent Georgian writer Nodar Dumbadze that when the original Mziuri park was constructed and opened in 1892 that it should be a park for children,
Winemakers to produce Kvanchkara in its place of origin - Racha
Khvanchakara is a semi-sweet Georgian red wine which originates from Racha, in the western part of Georgia. Kvanchkara is made of two types of grape Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli.
The level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported has increased
The National Wine Agency of Georgia has recently published statistical information about the level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported between January and July, 2018.
New fire engines to be Manufactured in Georgia
The Acting Head of the Emergency Management Agency Shalva Khutsishvili said that the old Zili fire engines (which were made in the USSR) will be phased out and replaced with new ones, manufactured in Georgia.
Georgia witnesses a record number of tourists
The Georgian National Tourism Administration publishes statistical information about international visits to Georgia.
Canadian businessman plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro
Canadian businessman Vadim Malishev plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro resort, Guria, in the western part of Georgia.
Coffee Factory will open in Tbilisi in October
The first coffee factory (which will be located on the Kakheti highway) in Tbilisi will open in October.
Places in Georgia where real estate is the most expensive
The real estate market in Georgia is growing annually. In Tbilisi as well as other regions of Georgia new developments are increasingly taking place.
How much does a vacation cost in Tbilisi?
It is the middle of summer and those who have not yet taken a vacation are looking for an appropriate place for sure!
The price for extreme sports in Georgia
Georgia offers a variety of options to extreme sport lovers.
The number of Georgians who own property abroad increases
The number of foreign properties owned by Georgians is increasing.
How much does Taxi cost in Tbilisi?
Stories how Taxi drivers try to deceive passengers and charge them with more money than they should pay are known for everybody all over the world.
What are the highest paid areas in Georgia
According to the data collected by the National Statistics Office of Georgia in the first quarter of 2018 the highest paid jobs in Georgia are found in the financial and insurance fields.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
18.09.2018
19.09.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6156
2.6188
EUR
1
EUR
3.0498
3.0593
GBP
1
GBP
3.4259
3.4414
RUB
100
RUB
3.8379
3.8673
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
2.6188
EUR
1
EUR
3.0593
GBP
1
GBP
3.4414
RUB
100
RUB
3.8673
September 2018
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