The rise of a media empire in the former communist space. A case study of central European: media enterprises
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 09:37 authored by Monica Beatrice Kohlenberg
During the transition from authoritarian regimes to democracy, media have changed along with the other components of social and economic life. They have evolved from propaganda vehicles to real business entities that are functioning in free markets. However, relations between the media, state, society, and market have led to the development of unique dynamics of media systems in the ex-communist countries. Among all media groups that have formed in the ex-communist space, there is one company that stands out. Central European Media Enterprises (CME) - a Bahamas-based American-owned company was the first to bring Western marketing and management styles, along with American programming. CME knew how to commercially exploit the market's underdeveloped potential and consumers' thirst for information and entertainment. This paper looks at CME mainly from a business perspective. It attempts to document and explain the company's strategies and decisions, and the way in which they were influenced by politics. The theoretical framework of the paper builds on the Splichal's concept of "political capitalism" and on Doyle's and Mosco's theories of media economics. The conclusion is that CME's financial success has been highly influenced - though not totally determined - by factors that have nothing to do with a normal, healthy business environment.