Tomorrow, You’ll Buy Something

Economic Pressure Pierces the Wall of Newsrooms

9 March 2020

Central European media desperately lack a profitable business model that would allow them to survive without donations from their owners.

Unless you are Steve Jobs, you cannot force people to change their consumers’ behaviour against their will. However, even Steve Jobs failed miserably in the case of media. Until these days, no one was able to produce a universal and sustainable model of media financing in the digital age.

Steve Jobs

If legendary investor Marc Andreesen is right and software really consumes the world, newspapers were the breakfast. However, only profitable media can be free and independent in the long term. The lack of a sustainable economic model and vulnerability to various influences, therefore, are the Achilles heel of all traditional media that are striving to survive. And nowhere it is so clear as in Central Europe.

Polarised landscape

The media landscape in V4 is heavily impacted by the financial and subsequent media crises as well as the regional history of important foreign investments after the fall of the communist regimes. Despite the differences among countries, taking over media by local capital and financial groups can be traced in all of them. Naturally, the deepening polarisation of the political landscape and societies is reflected in the national media landscape.

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Jan Klesla

#DemocraCE Fellow. Jan Klesla is the Director of the Institute for Digital Economy (IDE) and a former economics reporter, editor and commentator. He has focused on the digital economy, particularly investments and regulations in the area of the technological disruption of traditional industries. Currently, he externally advises the Czech government on issues of digital transformation and AI specifically, and is one of the co-authors of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

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