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Text of report in English by Czech-based Transitions Online website on 7 March
[By Marius Dragomir, London-based media analyst: "The Digital Switch-Off"]
The death of digital programming in the Czech Republic means its chances elsewhere in Eastern Europe are not good.
Back in 2002, the head of ad sales at Czech public television told me how much he deplored the state of the country's television output. In a nation of 10 million, the viewing choices were limited to three nationwide stations: leading commercial TV Nova, its rival, Prima TV, and the two channels of the public station, Ceska televize.
He described how mighty TV Nova, with its 45 per cent market share, dictated prices and behaviour in the advertising world. Prima, with just over 25 per cent of the market, fed off Nova's scraps. Public TV was not a threat to either, as it was rapidly filling its ad schedules given the ad limits imposed on it by law. And that's what the Czech Republic, whose level of ad spending, foreign …