Media Landscapes

Slovenia

Written by Marko Milosavljević, Igor Vobič

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The media situation in Slovenia is rather specific due to the entangled social, economic, legal and political circumstances of the past two decades. Slovenia was part of former Yugoslavia until the declaration of independence in 1991, date of the transition from socialism to a Western-type democracy, with a profound impact on the relationships between media, state, economy and civil society.

Slovenia is now a member of the European Union and was the first of the “10 new member states” to take over the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2008. From 1991 to 2008 GDP per capita tripled – last year Slovenia with a population of 2.0 million had a GDP per capita of 18,196 euro and a GDP growth rate of 2.4 percent.

Economic growth and other peculiar paradoxes, deriving from economic and political restructuring of the former socialist society, affect print, broadcast and online media, in terms of ownership, political control, functions in the society and the role of journalism in the public sphere. After the establishment of parliamentary democracy and market economy, many media companies are – regardless to the completed privatisation process – directly and indirectly owned and controlled by the state. Media legislation is thorough and restrictive, but media concentration is high and regulatory bodies do not have the autonomy necessary to implement it. Media ownership changes rapidly, bringing uneasiness on the media market and making the media landscape difficult to map and interpret.

There are currently 1396 media outlets registered in Slovenia. Gross value of the advertising pie in Slovenian media in 2008 was 522.5 million euro, 15 percent higher than in 2007. More than half of the advertising income goes to television (55 percent), print media share of advertising pie is 30.2 percent, while outdoor media (7.1 percent), radio stations (4.4 percent), and online media (3.5 percent) together get approximately 15 percent of the pie.

Among the top five media companies according to turnover, there are three print media (Delo, Dnevnik and Večer) and two broadcast media (public service broadcaster Radiotelevizija Slovenija, “Radiotelevision Slovenia” or RTV Slovenia), and a commercial broadcaster (Pro Plus), all of which have a narrow international role. RTV Slovenia is at the top of the list with a turnover of 124.7 million euro, 62.6 percent of which come from subscription fees paid by radio or television owners, as defined in the Zakon o Radioteleviziji Slovenija (“Law on RTV Slovenia”). It is followed by commercial broadcaster Pro Plus, which produces television programs Pop TV and Kanal A, with a turnover of 51.1 million euro, a large majority of which comes from advertising. Among the top five media companies according to turnover – they all have their online versions – are also three print media companies: Delo (60.4 million), Dnevnik (36.9 million) and Večer (18.7 million). Approximately half of Delo and Večer turnover derives from advertising, while at Dnevnik advertising represents a third of the turnover. International activities of mentioned media companies are slim or even none.

Through the prism of daily media reach, the print media are on top of the list together with their online editions  – the reach of the press is 89 percent. They are followed by radio and television: every day approximately two thirds of the Slovenian population use their TV-sets and listen to radio, an average individual watches television programs and listens to radio for approximately three hours. The percentage of people accessing the Internet during an average day has risen from 9 percent to 66 percent in the 2000s, an average individual surfs the Internet for a quarter of an hour and more than half of regular Internet users access the Internet more than once a day.

It seems transformations of media legislature and changes in Slovenian media, ownership and editorial policy, reflect changes of government. After 14 years of coalitions where the party Liberalna Demokracija Slovenije (“Liberal Democracy of Slovenia”) (LDS) played a main role, in 2004 a new government was formed after Slovenska Demokratska Stranka (“Slovenian Democratic Party”) (SDS) won the parliamentary elections and set a ruling coalition of right-wing parties for the first time since 1992. This has brought alterations in media regulation that have coincided with changes in media ownership and further strengthening of the state's role in Slovenian media system. In 2008 Socialni Demokrati (“Social Democrats”) (SD) won the parliamentary elections and formed a left-wing government that has announced reconsideration and changes of present media laws and media regulation system in Slovenia. A draft law on Public Broadcasting is expected, and should be followed by a Mass Media Law.

For a long time the Slovenian newspaper market was quite unique among all post-socialist countries because, since the fall of socialism, there have been marginal foreign investments in the print media, unlike in Hungary, Czech Republic or Poland for instance. During the privatization process of the 1990s, media companies were bought by Slovenian companies. In most of the print media not even one foreign owner, either company or person, was present, even as a minor shareholder, until the 2000s. Although some interest had been shown in the early 1990s (from Robert Maxwell for instance), no investments were made as the Slovenian newspaper market was considered to reach a level of saturation where new newspapers would not be successful and where old newspapers had enough economic and financial strength, not needing any foreign investors.

At the same time, the privatization of the print media market has not been completely finished, as state-owned trusts and companies still own important part of the shares and thus also exert managerial and editorial influences. This was particularly the case after the change of the government in fall 2004, when chairmen of media companies Delo, Večer and Primorske novice and editors-in-chief at three daily newspapers were changed after representatives of state-owned trusts and companies in the supervisory boards, who appoint them, were replaced beforehand. After a left-wing government was formed fall in 2008 no dramatic changes happened in Slovenian print media. However, the sustainability of leading positions at respective media companies continued to be uneasy due to turbulent relations within the political-economic elite and due to the economic crisis. 

The small scale of the Slovenian print media market makes it difficult to distinguish between national newspapers and regional newspapers, or between regional newspapers and local ones. It seems that the Slovenian newspaper arena has at least three categories of publications: first, important players on the market are nationally orientated, mostly dailies, but also some weeklies, and distributed across the country; second, some regional newspapers, daily and weekly, are also distributed nationwide, but are more concerned with events and issues in the respective regions; third, local newspapers, published mostly on weekly of fortnightly basis, are concentrated on towns and surrounding villages, where they play a substantial role in the community.

There are eight daily newspapers in Slovenia. The sold circulation of all daily newspapers in Slovenia is approximately 260,000 copies, with a readership of 1.17 million readers and 16.6 percent share of the gross advertising pie in 2008. According to annual report of Nacionalna raziskava branosti 2009 (National Readership Research 2009) among the top three dailies afor circulation, broadsheet Delo (readership 138,000) and tabloid Slovenske novice (readership 342,000) are owned by the same holding company Delo, d.d.. They share a number of common special interest supplements (Ona, Polet, Delo&Dom, Vikend), while on Sunday they publish Nedelo (readership 142,000; format changed from broadsheet to tabloid in May 2002). Together the company Delo with its two newspapers controls almost half of the readership market for daily newspapers in the country.

Approximately 242,000 people in Slovenia read the free, magazine-type daily newspaper Žurnal24, produced by Žurnal media, owned by Austrian media company Styria Verlag – with about one fifth of all readers. Žurnal24 is the only daily newspaper in Slovenia which has not experienced a slight downfall in readership in comparison to readership data from 2008.

During the 2000s, two daily newspapers with specialized content and numerous tabloid characteristics entered the Slovenian print media market. First, in 2000 the sports bi-daily newspaper Ekipa became a daily and now has a readership of 30,000; second, in 2001 the business newspaper Finance was re-launched as daily, and now has 53,000 readers. In autumn 2005, the media company Delo started publishing a sport daily newspaper As, which ceased publications after only few months due to low sold circulation and readership. Media company Dnevnik also had an unsuccessful daily newspaper project. In autumn 2005 it started publishing the tabloid Direkt. In January 2008 publishing of Direkt was stopped and Dnevnik began to produce and distribute the daily tabloid Indirekt (readership of 21,000 in 2008) with a softer editiorial policy. However, due to a financially unsuccessful campaign the publishing of Indirekt was stopped in March 2009.

Three other dailies have predominantly regional orientation, and each has more than one fifth of the readership market: Dnevnik is sold in the capital Ljubljana (readership 125,000; it also publishes the popular weekly tabloid Nedeljski dnevnik with a readership of 340,000, and the weekly tabloid Hopla with 72,000 readers); Večer in the northeastern town of Maribor (readership 122,000; it also published general weekly magazine 7D with 34,000 readers). Večer shares some supplements with another regional daily, Primorske novice from the south-western region of Slovenia, now with a readership of 65,000. Primorske novice used to be a successful regional bi-daily newspaper with a readership of more than 100,000. By spring 2007 the business results were worse than expected. The chief executive was changed twice in one year, as was the editor-in-chief. Another regionally oriented newspaper, but published nation-wide, is the free weekly Dobro jutro, produced in Maribor and with a readership of 320,000.

Regional and/or local general information newspapers, which are distributed every one or two weeks, are strongly embedded in politically, economically and culturally specific local context, and are published in small-size towns, such as Kranj (bi-daily Gorenjski glas with a readership of 49,000), Novo mesto (weekly Dolenjski list with 45,000 readers), Celje (weekly Novi tednik with 44,000 readers) and Murska Sobota (weekly Vestnik with 59,000 readers). There is an array of other regional and/or local newspaper publications with thematically more narrow focus and consequently smaller reach – one of the rare exceptions is weekly Družina published by the Roman-Catholic Church (RKC) with 107,000 readers.

Another significant part of the media market and the public sphere are political magazines. Mladina has been the most influential Slovenian political magazine since mid 1980s. It represented a critical tribune in a time of profound political, economic and cultural changes in Slovenia, just before the disintegration of Yugoslavia and immediately after it. In the 1990s the “leftist” weekly Mladina faced market competition with the “rightist” political weekly magazine Mag. In 2006, in a time of right-wing government and of turbulent dynamics in the media market, the media company Delo bought Mag, which had changed status on the market and saw its readership start to decrease rapidly. Changes in Delo were continuously reflected in the editorial policy of Mag, resulting in becoming a declared “center” political weekly magazine in 2008 with a readership of 36,000 and turning in a supplement to daily Delo in 2009. In May 2008 the new “rightist” political magazine Reporter was published for the first time. Reporter is produced by some of the former editors and journalists of Mag and has by 16,000 readers. Mladina has a readership of 64,000.   

As mentioned earlier, there were no foreign investors present on the Slovenian newspaper market in the 1990s. This changed in 2000s when Swedish media corporation Bonnier AG and its partner Dagens Industri invested approximately 3 million euro in the re-launch of the newspaper Finance. Styria Verlag from Austria bought more than 25 percent of the Ljubljana daily Dnevnik, and from 2003 to 2007 they published  the free weekly Žurnal, which is since 2007 the Sunday edition of Styria’s free daily newspaper Žurnal24. Another foreign investor in the Slovenian media market is Leykam, an Austrian publishing house publishing the free newspaper Dober Dan across the country every week.

Some other foreign companies are present on the magazine market, for instance Burda. Its company Adria media publishes a number of Slovenian versions of foreign titles, such as Playboy, Elle, Lisa and Men’s Health, as well as the successful weekly tabloid Nova with a readership of 99,000. The main publisher of magazines in Slovenia remains Delo Revije with a number of highly-read tabloid magazines, such as Lady, Jana, Obrazi, Anja, Smrklja, Eva, Modna Jana, Ambient and Stop, which are together read by 748,000 people in Slovenia. Furthermore, there are a number of licensed Slovenian editions of foreign titles published by different local media companies, such as men’s magazine FHM (48,000 readers), general National Geographic (154,000 readers) that was launched in April 2006; and Reader’s Digest (78,000 readers), launched in March 2006.

Because of the small language market, Slovenian publishers have been traditionally struggling to achieve positive financial results and economic success. During the 1990s there has been a slight but continuous growth in book sales, in 1998 publishers reached an income of 89.1 million euro, the biggest in history. However, this was followed by a dramatic decline in 2000, when their income was the lowest in ten years (80.7 million euro), with one of the lowest book sales records in Europe.

During the 2000s the Slovenian book publishing has been in crisis, deriving from lack of availability of books in smaller towns and villages, where 60 percent of the population lives, and also from the high state taxation.

Although reading of books in Slovenia is comparable with other European countries and borrowing books from libraries has doubled during the transition from the 1990s to 2000s, the state has done little with its policies to promote reading and book buying. However, in mid 2000s print media companies, such as Delo and Dnevnik, have started to sell famous works of domestic and foreign authors together with their daily newspapers and trying to attract readers with sensibly lower prices than those in the bookstores of the biggest publishers Mladinska knjiga and DZS.

Radio broadcasting  started in Slovenia on 28 October 1928, when Radio Ljubljana went on air for the first time. In the period prior to World War II radio broadcasting was controlled by the state, this remained the case in the socialist era, when journalists were regarded as “socio-political workers”. In the early 1990s Radio Ljubljana, which has over decades become the centre of the state-controlled network of radio stations across the country, was transformed in the public broadcaster Radio Slovenija as part of RTV Slovenia. Simultaneously, the Slovenian media landscape experienced a rapid growth of commercial radio stations, which have had a hard time to get near the reach of Radio Slovenia. Public radio programs are financed predominantly from license fees, but with an important share of advertising income; commercial radio programs are financed mostly from advertising; radio programs of special importance are mainly financed by the state via special public competitions and partly from advertising.   

At the end of 2008, 98 holders of a licence for performing radio activities were present in Slovenia. Among these 87 employ radio frequencies, while 11 broadcast via cable systems or Internet only, or have yet to begin with broadcasting. Public broadcaster RTV Slovenia is composed of eight radio channels: Radio Slovenija 1, Radio Slovenija 2, Radio Slovenija 3, Radio Koper, Radio Maribor, Radio Capodistria for the Italian minority in Slovenia, Pomursko-Hungarian Radio for the Hungarian minority in Slovenia and Radio Slovenia International. According to the law, RTV Slovenia, as a radio public broadcaster, must produce and broadcast a wide array of news, culture, education and entertainment content, and pay special attention to Slovene national minorities in the neighboring countries, and to Italian and Hungarian minorities in Slovenia, and to members of the Roma community. Furthermore, there are 79 radio stations of private ownership that broadcast 61 commercial radio programmes and 18 non-profit, regional, local or student “radio programmes of special importance”, according to the Ministrstvo za kulturo (“Ministry for Culture”) and Zakon o medijih (“Mass Media Act”).

According to Agencija za pošto in ektronske komunikacije (APEK), the Post and Electronic Communications Agency, the number of radio program services in Slovenia, often said to be excessive for such a small radio market, does not truly reflect the real number of substantially different radio program services, as in many instances these differ only formally – as the radio program services of some broadcasters are spread throughout several undertakings, broadcasting individual radio program services. The whole of Slovenia together with all its population is covered by few radio stations, namely Radio Slovenija 1, Radio Slovenija 2, and Radio Slovenija 3. The largest coverage among private radio stations is that of the non-profit radio station Radio Ognjišče, owned by Slovenian Roman-Catholic Church. Public radio stations have an important advantage regarding reach. Radio Slovenija reaches 2 more than 250,000 people every day, followed by Radio Slovenija 1 with a daily reach of about 200,000 people,at the same time, Infonet, a network of 30 radio stations, has according to its own estimates, a daily reach of about 430,000.

It seems that among the broadcasting media, precisely radio stations have never really recovered from the consequences of privatization and lack of strategy in Slovenian media system. No foreign investor is present in Slovenian radio broadcasting at the moment, while a number of stations are owned by the same or connected companies or persons. At the same time, allocation of broadcast licenses was mostly based on personal relations rather than on preset criteria. In the last decade the number of radio stations has been growing rapidly, despite the fact that small commercial radio stations could hardly survive unless they joined in a radio network. Moreover, setting up these networks was not based on any clear strategy and was not subjected to supervision or regulation.

According to Article 83 of the Mass Media Act, radio and television broadcasters can form a network, if each member broadcasts only within the area for which its license was issued, produces at least two hours in-house programming per day, and acquires approval from the APEK if its programming has changed as a consequence of networking. There are six radio “groups” in Slovenia, but only one can be regarded as a network. The Infonet network entered in the media registry in 2002 and includes 30 radio stations, 15 of those are connected through ownership, others are regarded as “associate members”. They share the technical service department, musical section, program and advertising production sections, legal service and promotion departments. Infonet member stations are linked in several ways: through programming, advertising and ownership, all of which can influence the programming concepts on the basis of which these radio stations acquired broadcasting licenses. In the year of its establishment the Ministry for Culture did not check if Infonet fulfilled the requirements set down by Mass Media Act. The statement of the broadcaster itself that the network fulfilled the above mentioned requirements was taken as sufficient.

In accordance with Article 59 of the Mass Media Act, owners can be involved in either radio or television broadcasting, but not in both. The owner of a radio or television channel can control up to 20 percent of a daily newspaper and vice-versa, as set in Article 56 of the mentioned document. There are no limits regarding cross-media ownership of magazines and radio or television channels. Advertising agencies cannot own or control more than 20 percent of a radio or television channel. Telecommunications companies cannot own a radio or television channel. Therefore, the biggest commercial broadcaster Pro Plus was trying to get a radio frequency for years, but unsuccessfully. In the early 2000s Pro Plus entered the radio market with the project 24ur – radijske novice and started producing news programs for 16 radio stations. Due to un-achieved economic and financial goals it stopped airing in January 2004.

Television broadcasting started in Slovenia in 1958, when Televizija Ljubljana started broadcasting. In almost half a century of socialist system,  Televizija Ljubljana and its regional centres were state controlled. In the early 1990s Televizija Ljubljana was transformed in the public broadcaster Televizija Slovenija as part of RTV Slovenia. Unlike in the radio market, commercial television stations became important only after the mid 1990s, when American media group CME entered the Slovenian media market. According to estimates, gross advertising income value of the Slovenian television advertising market was 300 million euro in 2008. At the end of 2008, 69 holders of licences for performing television activities were present in Slovenia, while only 24 broadcast on these frequencies.

Public RTV Slovenia is the largest television broadcaster in Slovenia and prepares two national television programmes (TV SLO 1, mainly dedicated to news, current affairs, children’s programs, prime-time entertainment, and TV SLO 2, mainly dedicated to sports, documentaries, and arts), two regional television programmes (Television Koper/Capodistria and Tele M), and a special national television program intended for live broadcasts and broadcasting of recordings of sessions of Državni zbor Republike Slovenije (“National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia”) (TV SLO 3). In 2000s RTV Slovenia television programmes, have had an audience share of approximately 35 percent.

As in the case of public radio broadcasting, RTV Slovenia has to produce and broadcast a wide array of news, culture, education and entertainment contents, and must pay special attention to Slovene national minorities in the neighboring countries, Italian and Hungarian minority in Slovenia, and members of the Roma community. Subscription fees accounted for most of the turnover of RTV Slovenia in 2007. It is considered that each electricity bill payer owns a receiver, and is thus subject to the payment of a license fee, unless a person provides a special declaration, as stated in the Law on RTV Slovenia. There are more than 600,000 active license fee payers, who pay 11 euro monthly. Other income derives mainly from in-house music and audiovisual production, public concerts, book publishing, sponsorships and advertising – annual revenues from the latter is about one fifth of the income pie.

Unlike the print and radio market, foreign owners play an extremely important role in the Slovenian television market. Three of the largest commercial channels are all owned by foreign companies: Pop TV (audience share: 27 percent), Kanal A (9 percent), as well as TV3 (2 percent). Pop TV and Kanal A are owned by the same company, American-owned Central European Media Enterprises (CME), while TV3 was established by the Slovene Roman-Catholic Church, but later sold to Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Ćaleta, who at that time also owned Television Nova in Croatia and OBN in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He sold TV3 in summer 2006 to Swedish company Modern Times Group (MTG AB).

A franchised network, MTV Adria, started broadcasting in autumn 2005, with broadcasts and production from Slovenia and other countries from south-eastern Europe. A number of specialized channels also broadcast, such as Čarli (popular music), Petelin (folk music), Šport Klub, Šport TV 1, Šport TV 2 (sports), and Info TV (24-hour news). The latter covers half of the country, but is rather an unimportant actor in the Slovenian media landscape due to its financial and organisational insufficiencies. Foreign channels are available through cable and satellite; some, such as National Geographic, Discovery, Hallmark and HBO, broadcast their programs with Slovenian subtitles, as local affiliates of the transnational channels.

Other commercial stations are less important, both in terms of their role in the public sphere and on the media market. They mostly produce cheap in-house shows, talk shows and music shows, and have a small audience share (less than 1 percent). Regarding television programs of special significance, which are broadcast by 12 regional and local television stations, similar conclusions can be drawn. These non-profit, local, regional and student programs are regarded as important through the prism of “public interest”, however, they have not yet spurred a broad public debate nationally, regionally or locally.

The broadcasting sector is saturated, with a vast number of electronic media outlets competing for a limited amount of advertising revenue. Probably there are too many television and radio stations for such a small country, resulting in small advertising revenues for most of them. This situation causes both a lowering of the program quality and frequent breaches of the Mass Media Act, particularly when it comes to covert advertising. At the same time, the transparency of the media market is inadequate. Most problematic are the opaque ownership situation of many outlets and the non-transparent structure of the advertising market. This is the main reason why there is no official data on the advertising revenue of Slovenian media.

Slovenian television stations, both public and commercial, find it problematic to adhere to the obligations determined in the European Union Television without Frontiers Directive. The first problem is that of meeting Slovenian quotas, especially when it comes to domestic audiovisual works, which are in relatively short supply. Slovenia is a small country and the Slovenian language is little used outside the country's borders, meaning that there can be few benefits from scale economy. Slovenian production is much more expensive than programs bought from the USA, Latin America or the rest of the European Union. To adhere to European Union quotas, most television stations rely on cheap formats, such as talk shows, studio interviews and music videos.

The European Union Television without Frontiers Directive is to a certain extent, mirrored in Article 92 of the Mass Media Act, which lists the following requirements for RTV Slovenia: TV SLO 1 and TV SLO 2 have to reserve at least 25 percent of their annual airtime to programs produced in Slovenia. The public service broadcasters must reserve 10 percent of their schedule to programs by independent producers. European audiovisual production must account for the majority of airtime of annual public service broadcasting. Commercial broadcasters in Slovenia have almost no public service obligations. They do not have to broadcast news, current affairs, education programs, documentaries, or religious programs. Since law does not oblige them to broadcast programs for minorities in their own languages, or to provide any airtime for other social groups, they do not broadcast such content.

In 2007 Slovenia got the first digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplex as a result of a few-years-long process of adopting national strategy of digital switch over, and followed by the decision for MPEG-4. DTT multiplex is operated by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Despite using the coding standard which allows transmitting eight channels within the same frequency channel, it offers only three national television channels and two regional television channels. In the first year the first national DTT network reached coverage of around 60 percent of the Slovenian population. However, there is still no data on the Slovenian DTT penetration and, as APEK acknowledges: “We probably wouldn’t miss too much if we’d dare to say that it is around zero.”

According to APEK the public awareness of the coming switch off date (31 December, 2010) is still low. The set-top boxes, suitable for the Slovenian viewers, have only recently appeared in Slovenian stores. Previously, there were no MPEG-4 set-top boxes available, and some retailers promoted those for MPEG-2 as a way to digital television. Viewers, especially those leaving near the border, were buying MPEG-2 decoders in order to watch the over-spilled Austrian, Italian, or Croatian digital television channels. This raised concerns that the growing penetration of MPEG-2 decoders could impede the adoption of more expensive MPEG-4 set-top boxes. Concerns derived from the fact that neighboring countries all adopted MPEG-2 and were ahead of Slovenia regarding the digital switch over process.

In order to speed up the digital switch over process, APEK requested RTV Slovenia to reserve a part of the multiplex for the most popular Slovenian commercial television channels. The negotiation process ended with a decision on temporary division of the multiplex. At the end of 2007 APEK closed the public tender for digital program licenses and gave POP TV, Kanal A and TV3 the rights for digital terrestrial transmission. All television partners involved have been negotiating on the price of the operator’s service. According to APEK their positions seem to be strikingly different: “The commercial channels point to long duration of the simulcasting period and claim that the prices are so high, that they would cause their financial exhaustion.”

In August 2007 APEK released an international appeal aimed at scanning interest in frequencies for the second national multiplex. APEK believed that the operators, who would invest in the establishment of the second national DTT network, would be more capable of finding appealing content choice that would pay off their effort. APEK was pleased to see that four operators, two domestic and two foreign, were interested in acquiring the right to set up and manage the second national multiplex.

Zakon o digitalni radiodifuziji (“Digital Broadcasting Act”) came into force at the end of 2007 and gave APEK green light to prepare the public tender for assignment of radio frequencies for the DTT network. The APEK study of acts regulating digital broadcasting (Digital Broadcasting Act, Zakon o elektronskih komunikacijah (“Electronic Communications Act”) and Mass Media Act) showed that there was not enough legal certainty to carry out the initial plan. Moreover, there are no official assessments on how much finances the Slovenian broadcasters will have to spend for reconstructing their infrastructure, in order to switch from analogue to digital. APEK estimates that the price for the national DTT network and multiplex services will be around 300,000 euro per television channel annually, “which is an expense that an average Slovenian television broadcaster can hardly afford to pay in the transition period”.

According to APEK research, although the transition to digital broadcasting will have an effect on all TV broadcasters that are relying on terrestrial transmission, the process could be harmful for the small broadcasters in parts of the country where no alternative platforms are available. Local and regional television channels that are recognized by the Ministry for Culture as programs of special significance were exempted from the payment of transmission costs in the analogue terrestrial scheme, however, but no payment relief is foreseen in the DTT model. Recent events show that even the biggest Slovenian television broadcasters are hardly capable of handling double transmission costs during the transitional period. This puts the planned establishment of the second national multiplex under a question mark.

In Slovenia the time needed to convert the households relying on the analogue terrestrial television platform should be shorter than in countries with a high number of terrestrial households. However, the transition from analogue to digital reception of television channels should not be the only goal of the digital switch over process. By determining MPEG-4 for the obligatory audio and video compression standard, Slovenia decided both for more efficient use of spectrum and for a wider range and diversity of high quality services. APEK stresses that Slovenia will not be able to switch over without cooperation of public service broadcaster RTV Slovenia and of the big commercial broadcasters, and will not do it successfully unless the role of the local and regional television stations will be safeguarded. Policy makers should think of the ways of helping all broadcasters to be actively involved in the digital switch over process without taking too big risks. Transition to digital broadcasting should offer the broadcasters new business opportunities and give the viewers more choice of content and services.

In comparison to 20 years ago, traditional cinema theatres have lost part of their attraction and popularity in Slovenia, together with the growth of multiplex cinema theatres first in Ljubljana and later in other urban centres, and with the rise of modern display infrastructure – in 1989 there were 3.8 million cinema admissions, 1.9 million in 1999 and 2.4 million in 2008. Cinema visitors are on average younger than 24 and go to the cinema foremost over the weekends. The number of cinemas has risen in 2008, stopping the gradual decline in the last half decade. In 2008 there were 57 cinema theatres, three more than in 2007, but seven less than in 2004; however, this declining development has been compensated by an increase of theatres with more than one screen. Biggest players are Kolosej - with 26 theatres and about 5,000 seats in Ljubljana, Maribor, Koper and Kranj - and Planet Tuš, with 18 theatres and 6,000 seats in Maribor, Celje, Novo mesto and Kranj.

654 audiovisual works have been distributed in Slovenia in 2008. Of these 16.4 percent are of Slovenian origin, 76.6 percent are supplied from the  European Union and 7.0 percent directly from the United States. Similar shares of distribution can be identified on the DVD market, with 245,000 disks sold (55,000 Slovenia; 180,000 European Union; 10,000 United States).

45 films have been produced in Slovenia in 2008. The last decade of Slovenian film definitely had its own peculiarities and characteristics, which only partly reflect the profound changes in society of the 1990s. The almost 50 year-old cinematographic model, based on the national film producer Viba Film, which enjoyed total support by the state making it not possible to make a film without it, fell apart together with the former political regime. In the new state Viba Film lost its jurisdictions as a producer and became a “technical resource”, a modern film studio, which works on the major part of Slovenian productions. “Independent” film producers are responsible for the production and they apply with their projects to the national Film Fund, which according to the Law on Slovenian Film Fund decides whether to support the projects or not, and then co-finances the selected projects with a major share, which sometimes even means the whole budget of the film. RTV Slovenia is an important co-producer (and sometimes even the main producer); the fourth actor is that of the so-called “one-time projects”, which means films produced and filmed (more and more often with a digital camera) independently of both national institutions, the Film Fund and the Slovenian National Television, but with the Film Fund usually making it possible for these films to be shown in the cinemas (by co-financing the enlargement of the film).

The Slovenian electronic communications market ranks among the small-sized European markets with an annual turnover of approximately 1 billion euro in late 2000s according to estimates of APEK.

The biggest player on the market is a company owned by the state, Telekom Slovenije, d. d. which together with daughter companies Mobitel, d. d. and Siol, d. o. o. holds more than three quarters of the market revenues.  The fourth important player on the market is Si.mobil, a mobile telecommunications provider owned by Austrian Mobilkom mbH (92.2 percent) and two Slovenian companies (7.8 percent). A “convergence trend” is ever more present on the Slovenian market of electronic communications, which enables subscribers to use similar, existing or new media, including telephony and Internet services, via the same transmission platform. Service providers want to ensure their share of the open market, and so they add increasingly attractive services to their range. One such is the triple play service, which in IP networks combines speech, data and video. The merging reduces costs and increases user interest. Competition is improving with the entry of new operators, which leads to better quality services and more attractive prices for end users.

Until 2003, when Siol started a project of Internet television, which has been rather unsuccessful due to technological burdens, cable operators and Internet providers were not interested in convergence, because of small competition and financial success. Siol effectively responded to market competition, especially after 2005, when T-2 entered the market and offered VDSL Internet connectivity with bandwidths of up to 50Mbs/20Mbs, IP telephony services, digital television service with 120 television channels and video-on-demand. In recent years UPC Telemach owned by Liberty Global, Inc. strengthened its position in the Slovenian electronic communication market by offering (digital) cable television, cable Internet, and digital telephony.

However, the future of convergence in Slovenia will probably belong to mobile telecommunication providers: they hold almost half of the market revenues, three quarters of all Slovenian citizens own a mobile telephone – the first electronic medium – after television – which has successfully overcome the majority of demographic factors (age, gender, education, income). Mobile telephones of the third generation offer transmission of video, quality sound, and quick access to information and news. Therefore, mobile telephones could in the near future together with online media outlets become a serious competition to newspapers and news programs on television and radio. This was also reflected in the European Commission March 2007 proposal to modernize Europe’s Television without Frontiers Directive adopted in 1989 and amended in 1997. The proposal derived from concerns regarding regulation and other issues in the context of the emerging digital framework and audiovisual services (video on demand, mobile television, audiovisual services on digital television etc.).

Moreover, the mentioned media companies also offer online news and other content for mobile telephone subscribers. The two largest mobile telecommunications operators Mobitel and Si.Mobil have recently widened their offer of digital content (news, entertainment, interactive games etc.) on their platforms Planet and Vodafone live. Public service broadcaster RTV Slovenia and the biggest commercial broadcaster Pro Plus offer a wide variety of content on the platforms available. It is produced by special sectors within the editorial boards and other production units which are strongly connected with the primary production.

In Slovenia convergence is regarded as a future necessity by important actors in the media and electronic communications in general. Despite a progress in recent years, the state of convergence in Slovenia is still at the outset. The main pillars of convergence have been built on four interconnected levels: a technological level (mainly due to digitalising of broadcasting, IT and telecommunications networks), a structural level (as a consequence of corporate alliances across different sectors), a content level (more profound, broad and easily accessible content), and a market level (as a response to convergence on first three levels). Through the prism of convergence, the key issue that regulators – both Slovenian and European – need to address now is that rules devised for one-to-many communication are being rendered obsolete by the shift to one-to-one services. Moreover, the blurring lines between traditional electronic media, household gadgets and computers, hard-to-define activities and services of corporate actors, and the vanishing borders between markets, present serious problems for Slovenian regulators and  in the legislature framing the further regulatory structure in Slovenia and Europe.

In 2008 the percentage of households that had access to the Internet reached 59 percent, that is slightly under the average of the European Union (62 percent). Furtherly, according to the Eurostat 2008 report, the share of households with broadband Internet access is 50 percent and equals the average of the European Union. According to APEK, 67 percent of broadband access users in 2008 were accessing the Internet via xDSL technology and around 22 percent via cable access. About half of Internet users access the Internet from their homes and approximately a third do that from their jobs. Research project Raba Interneta v Sloveniji, 2007 (“Internet Usage in Slovenia, 2007”) (RIS 2007) shows that 1.06 million people frequently logged to the Internet in 2007. The number of mobile telephone subscribers able to access the Internet via hand-held has been growing rapidly due to the fact that the number of UMTS subscribers is in constant growth.

The main regulatory body regarding online media is APEK, which is responsible for implementation of the Law on Electronic Communications that was changed in 2007. APEK's mission is to regulate the electronic communications market in order to ensure competitiveness, and thus make it possible to choose high-quality, modern and affordable services. However, online media have been pretty much deregulated – this falls into the question for an approach with provisions from migrating from existing regulatory frameworks to an efficient future unified regime covering the wider communications and information industries.

The website with the highest number of visitors per month is Google.com (more than 893,000 different visitors; a reach of 84 percent), the most visited domestic website is Slovenian search engine Najdi.si with a reach of 75 percent. They are followed by POP TV and Kanal A, online newspaper 24ur.com (monthly reach of 60percent), Microsoft (MSN.com, Hotmail.com and Microsoft.com) (53 percent), online store Bolha.si (44 percent), Yahoo! (38 percent), Youtube (38 percent), RTV Slovenija (38 percent) and others. The reach of above mentioned Slovenian dailies (Delo.si, Dnevnik.si, Vecer.com, Finance-on.net) is between 12 percent and 18 percent.

Among Slovenian digital media the most important actors in terms of reach and continuous up-to-date news production are the news websites of traditional print and broadcast media organisations. According to research project Merjenje obiskanosti spletnih strani 2009 (“Visit Measurement of Websites 2009”) (MOSS 2009) the number of unique monthly visitors of Slovenian news websites is growing in scope: 24ur.com, produced by the biggest Slovenian broadcaster, had about 600,000 different users in August 2009; Siol.net, produced by the biggest telecommunication Slovenian company Telekom, d.d., was visited by 460,000 people; Rtvslo.si, produced by public broadcaster RTV Slovenia, had a monthly reach of approximately 400,000; Zurnal24.si is the most visited site produced by a print media company (about 330,000 unique monthly visitors), followed by Delo.si (220,000), Dnevnik.si (210,000), Finance-on.net (200,000) and Vecer.si (140,000). Two of the top ten most visited websites in Slovenia are leisure, lifestyle and health websites, produced by Pro Plus: Zadovoljna.si (230,000) and Vizita.si (225,000). A number of online-only media started operating in last three years, among them the most visited is Vest.si with 67,000 monthly unique visitors. According to estimates, online media had a 3.5 percent share of media gross advertising pie in 2008.

The transition of print and broadcast media companies to the Internet has begun in the second half of the 1990s, when a “we-have-to-be-online” attitude mentality prevailed in the Slovenian media system. Media companies thus implemented a “shovel ware” concept, publishing only selected content of in-house print or broadcast news teams. This was being done by less than a handful of people working as a team, who were initially employed for other jobs.

In the early 2000s media companies started to establish online departments of 10 to 15 news workers, producing original news content, mainly by repackaging in-house print or broadcast news and content of other media and news agencies. Therefore, research shows a lack of hypertextuality, interactivity and multi-mediality in that period, resulting in news websites being regarded as “mere extensions” of print and broadcast production in traditional media organisations. Because online departments had not yet made profits, media companies hired mostly young journalists, who were less than 27 years old and had less than four years of journalistic experiences.

In the late 2000s online teams at traditional media organisations still mainly reproduce news content from in-house print or broadcast sources or other media and press agencies; however, characteristics of online communication, such as hypertextuality, interactivity and multimediality, are being more actively implemented into the online news production process, resulting in the establishment of special multimedia news teams and online news formats. Furthermore, in 2008 Žurnal media, Delo and Dnevnik have started a newsroom integration process, trying to bring online news teams into the centre of news production and to build common information engines across departments and media platforms.

In recent years two issues emerged in the Slovenian digital media arena: first, the weak social status of online journalists, and second, the search for a new economic model. Inside the Slovenian journalistic community, journalists are polarized into “defenders” and “critics” of online journalism, whereas online journalists are often not regarded as “real” journalists due to their mostly repackaging content. Furthermore, half of about 120 online journalists have fixed-term contracts, more than a third of them are students and slightly more than 10 percent have regular and open-ended employment. This means that that a large majority of Slovenian online journalists are what International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) regard as “atypical media workers”.

Weak social status of online journalists reflects, at least to a degree, a lack of financial and economic success of online departments in traditional media companies. Business figures are not public, because media companies do not publish them in their annual reports. Therefore, traditional media organisations are in search of a new economic model, which would bring stability in digital media business and compensate the fall-out of revenue, resulting from declining circulations and readership. One of the first goals in print media companies is to find a way to make web users pay for some of the online content and simultaneously remain loyal to their news website, despite limited access to some sections. Now, namely all content published in printed press in available online for free to everybody, often even newspaper archives.

Slovenska tiskovna agencija (“Slovenian Press Agency”) (STA) was established on 20 June, 1991, just before Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia. STA is now owned by the prime minister’s office, which puts it under direct government influence when it comes to appointing general manager and editor-in-chief, resulting in turbulent managerial and editorial policies in recent years. The agency, which provides coverage of events in Slovenia and around the world, is one of the main information sources for Slovenian media and journalists, as well as an important source of events and issues in Slovenia for foreign press agencies and media. With over 100 news workers based in Ljubljana and in regional centers across the country, as well as in Brussels, New York, Zagreb, Rome, Klagenfurt and Trieste, the agency also exchanges news wires with leading press agencies from other countries from Europe and overseas.

STA provides three main services: general news service in Slovenian, English news service and photo service. It provides up to 300 reports, features, press reviews and other news items each day, covering national and international affairs, business, European Union, arts and culture, science, human interest and sports. The English news service was established in 1994, and its team of journalists and translators prepares up to 50 daily news items, interviews, press reviews and other contributions, providing insight into Slovenian politics, business, society, culture and sport. STA's photo service provides over 200 daily photos from events in Slovenia and exchanges photos with partner agencies, such as Itar Tass, Xinhua, Beta, Tanjug, Hina and Telam. The STA Picture Archive contains over 110,000 press photos from events in Slovenia since 2002. Slovenia is a small market, therefore, the press agency is not likely to become a profitable company and this was also the central reason why its previous private owners sold their shares back to the state.

The Slovenian media and journalistic arena has not been heterogeneous in terms of unions, associations and other organisations. Sindikat novinarjev Slovenije (“Slovenian Union of Journalists”), founded in March 1990, is a member of IFJ and represents an umbrella of most trade unions in Slovenian media companies. The union strives to protect material, social and cultural interests and the rights of journalists as stated in the national collective agreement for professional journalists, to deal with issues regarding the autonomy and integrity of journalists, and to strengthen solidarity among union members.

On 3 October 2004, on the day of Slovenian parliamentary elections, the union called a national strike of professional journalists, following a dispute with employers over the renewal of their national collective agreement. The union demanded talks with employers over changes to the agreement, including higher pay scales. The strike was ended after three days and over 2,000 journalists, according to the estimates of the union – returned to their news work. While the employers did not accept all the union's demands, negotiations started.

Regarding contemporary issues of journalism and journalists, the union is backed by the Društvo slovenskih novinarjev (“Slovenian Association of Journalists”) on a regular basis. The association recognizes its roots in Slovensko društvo književnikov in časnikarjev (“Slovene Association of Writers and Pressmen”), established in 1905. For more than seven decades (1919-1991) the association has operated as an autonomous part of Yugoslav Association of Journalists; since Slovenian independence it has been the crown association for journalists in the country with around 1,600 members. Goals of the association are developing of media in the interests of domestic and foreign public; strengthening the autonomy of journalists and media; promoting ethics in public communication words; and protecting journalists from political, economic and other pressures.

In November 2007 Združenje novinarjev in publicistov (“Association of Journalists and Publicists”) was founded as an alternative to the Slovenian Association of Journalists, despite the fact that, theoretically, they follow similar goals. The establishment of the new association spurred a broad debate in the Slovenian journalistic community, leading some to suggest that the “emergence of new associations of journalists has political elements, foremost because they all recognize politics within others and not themselves”. Other journalistic associations, such as Društvo katoliških novinarjev (“Association of Catholic Journalists”), Društvo turističnih novinarjev and Društvo športnih novinarjev (“Association of Sports Journalists”), have narrower interest and smaller membership.     

Following changes in the political, economic and cultural system of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Slovenia had to adopt new legislation and replace old media laws. One of the fundamental issues was how to determine the new media owners of media outlets formerly owned and controlled by the state. Until 1994, when the Mass Media Act was adopted, the national authority for broadcasting frequencies, the Telecommunications Office, allocated broadcast licenses even though there was no legal basis for allocation.

Almost all important licenses, that is, those that cover the largest portions of the country, were distributed before the adoption of the Mass Media Act. The newly founded supervisory body, the Broadcasting Council, which according to this law was responsible for license allocation, inherited an exhausted frequency fund, chaotic ownership relations, and invalid (or non-existent) programming concepts. Hence the law established a regulatory body that could hardly longer influence the future development of the Slovenian broadcasting media sector.

The Mass Media Act passed in 2001 addresses the issues of media plurality and diversity in minute detail in Section 9. Much like the previous law dating from 1994, this act also treated anti-concentration provisions inside a wider framework embracing the protection of media pluralism and media diversity. Under the Mass Media Act, a publisher of a daily newspaper, or any natural or legal person, or group of related persons, who has more than a 20 percent interest in the capital or assets of that publisher, or more than 20 percent of management or voting rights, may not be an owner or co-founder of a radio or television broadcaster, and may not engage in radio and television activities. The same restriction applies to a radio or television broadcaster, who under this law may not be a publisher of a daily newspaper.

The Mass Media Act was changed and adopted by the parliament in summer 2006. The Mass Media Act abolished the former restriction on ownership to 33 percent for any person, including foreigners, and assigned the task of restricting ownership concentration to the state. Furthermore the 2006 Mass Media Act extends the “right of correction”, by which anybody who would be upset or offended by what was written or said or implied about him/her, including comments, and would want to present different, “opposite” facts, could demand a “correction”, and this correction will have to be published in the same place (including front page) and occupying the same space or even larger, since this correction could be longer than the original article. This means that even if every data or quote in the article is correct, somebody can demand this “correction”. This presents an opportunity particularly for government institutions and large companies (many of which are connected with or owned by the government) to demand all sorts of “corrections”, thus limiting editorial independence and journalistic freedom to criticize. Indeed a number of such controversial “corrections” were published, including one in a main culture magazine on public television and one in a magazine spread over two pages of that magazine. After parliamentary elections in 2008 the newly formed left-wing government has signalled that it plans to reconsider the Mass Media Act and media legislature in general.

Public broadcasting is regulated by the Law on RTV Slovenia, from 1994, amended in 2001 and 2005. RTV Slovenia is governed by its Programming Council, while its financial operations are controlled by a Supervisory Board. The Law on RTV Slovenia obliges the public broadcaster to be independent and autonomous, to respect human integrity and dignity in its programs, to observe the principle of impartiality, and to ensure the truthfulness of information and the pluralism of opinions and religious beliefs. It also obliges the public broadcaster to provide radio and television programs for the Italian and Hungarian minorities in Slovenia.

Amended Law on RTV Slovenia has been controversial since its presentation in April 2005, as it proposes dominant role of the state and of the government in appointing both the Programming Council and Supervisory Board, where previously different institutions from civil society (e.g. universities, association of writers, and sports organisations) held dominant influence. The draft law was criticized by domestic media experts, but also by a number of international organisations and institutions, among others by the International Federation of Journalists and  by the Council of Europe. However the Slovenian government refused to accept any important changes, refused the opinion of the Council of Europe as “legally incorrect, wrong and politologically missed from the start”, while Karol Jakubowicz, the chairman of the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communications Services of the Council of Europe, who said that the draft law is “a catastrophe”, was labeled by Slovenian Ministry for Culture as “a third-rate public servant from Poland”.

The Law on RTV Slovenia was adopted in November 2005, after a special referendum for this law was held and after the law passed with 50.2 percent majority. In the present system, the ruling political parties, which form the government and represent the majority in Parliament, have control over almost all managerial bodies at RTV Slovenia, and also over the appointment of all key editors. Parties forming the Government would have a majority in the newly created Programming Council — which would replace the existing Council of RTV Slovenia — and in the Supervisory Board. They also have control over the Director General, who would in future be appointed by the Programming Council. The Director General also has broader responsibilities: he or she leads the programming work, appoint and manage the directors of radio and television, as well as editors-in-chief and all other senior management. This threatens to diminish the independence of RTV Slovenia and could endanger its credibility, level of trust and respect with the public. Indeed the period after the adoption of the new law provided a number of examples and cases of interference in editorial and journalistic work. As a consequence, the credibility of public broadcaster, particularly television, fell as well as its popularity and ratings. According to the left-wing government formed after parliamentary elections in 2008, further changes to Law on RTV Slovenia are going to be adopted in 2010.

Contemporary accountability systems of Slovenian media and journalists have been developed rather late, following profound social changes in late 1980s and early 1990s. At the same time the media arena experienced the normative transformation of “old” journalists, following advocacy journalism of Marxist-Leninist tradition, into “new” journalists, following predominantly a meditative journalism typical of Western-type democracies. These dynamics required the establishment of self-regulatory bodies and codes of journalistic ethics, following broad, stable and widely acceptable ethical and professional standards within the journalistic community.

Hence, in 1988 the Slovenian Association of Journalists prepared a new code of journalistic ethics which shifted the perception of the journalist from that of a “socio-political worker” to that of the communicator, who is “primarily responsible to the public”. Further changes have been adopted in 1991 and later in 2002, when the contemporary Kodeks novinarjev Slovenije (“Code of Slovenian Journalists”) was written. In 1997 the Slovenian Association of Journalists and the Slovenian Union of Journalists have established a self-regulatory body, Novinarsko častno razsodišče (“Ethics Commission of Journalists”) (NČR), with nine journalists or editors as its members. NČR has the role to strengthen ethical and professional standards amongst journalists, as well as to make sure that the members of the journalistic community and other authors of journalistic texts respect the standards written in the Code of Slovenian Journalists.

Complaints, stating that the Code of Slovenian Journalists has been violated, can be sent to NČR by anyone, trying to protect their communication rights and to achieve more responsible conduct by individual journalists and media in the future. Proceedings before NČR are public, but rarely trigger reconsideration in the journalistic community or the public sphere. The procedure can be completed by the verdict of infringement; a ruling that no infringement has been made; a settlement between journalists and the complainant; or a declaration of NČR. In the extreme case, the tribunal proposes to exclude a member from the Slovenian Association of Journalists and/or the Slovenian Union of Journalists; however such verdict has not been made since the establishment of a common self-regulatory body, more than a decade ago. Decisions of NČR are only the opinion of this body and do not have the character of judgements or decisions, which impose the sanction or decide on an individual's rights with an official procedure.

Contemporary accountability systems and mechanisms reinforcing them have been continuously publicly reconsidered, resulting in proposed developments of Slovenian self-regulation. Some research suggests that the existing Ethics Commission for Journalists proved to be an obstacle, while past performance should have paved the way for an elaborate form of self-regulation. The idea about a tripartite press council was proposed, but some actors implied this new body would be set against the NČR. Supporters of establishing new and different self-regulatory body have not argued that NČR is needless, but rather aim at the idea of co-regulation that has recently emerged in the European Union.

In 2008 RTV Slovenia named the first Varuh pravic poslušalcev in gledalcev (“Listener and Viewer Ombudsman”). This position was established by the Program Board of RTV Slovenia on the basis of Article 16 of the Law on RTV Slovenia, which states that the board shall “address the comments and suggestions of viewers and listeners of RTV Slovenia channels and indicate its position in this regard. In determining programme policy and in justified cases, give instructions to the director-general regarding changes that must be effected on channels.” In the first annual report the ombudsman wrote that her role and function was often misunderstood within RTV Slovenia and by the public, and that she received 386 complaints mostly by viewers of entertainment television content.

The main regulatory bodies are the Ministry for Culture, as well as the Media Inspector and Directorate for Media within the framework of the Ministry for Culture. The Ministry of Culture supervises the implementation of the Mass Media Act – the fundamental legal document regarding press and mass media in general. The Media Inspector, based within the Ministry of Culture, deals with breaches of the Mass Media Act on his own initiative or after complaints from members of the public. A complaint cannot be anonymous. According to the Mass Media Act, the Inspector has no mandate for any monitoring, as his mandate is only for administrative proceedings in supervising the implementation of the act, but has no mandate or competency to conduct monitoring alone.

Further, the Agency for Post and Electronic Communications of the Republic of Slovenia (APEK) and the Broadcasting Council (SRDF) are regulatory bodies responsible for broadcasting and telecommunications. APEK’s most important tasks are ensuring the implementation of the Law on Electronic Communications, and monitoring the compliance of radio and television stations with the restrictions on their programming defined in the Mass Media Act. It issues broadcast licenses on the basis of a binding instruction of the Broadcasting Council, which is an independent body that, among other things, supervises the adherence of broadcasters to the obligations contained in their licenses. The Ministry of Culture supervises the implementation of the Mass Media Act, with the ministry’s Media Inspector investigating breaches of the act on its own initiative or following complaints from the public.

The University of Ljubljana has implemented the first journalism course in Slovenia in 1961, and since then, together with the Faculty of Social Sciences, remained a leading institution for educating future journalists, in terms of number of students (approximately 300 students on undergraduate and postgraduate level), success on the news labour market, and significance and credibility within the news arena.

However, in recent years its dominance does not preclude the emergence of other courses and educational institutions, which stress that they provide knowledge and skills for those who want to make a career in media and journalism. In 2008 two such courses have been established: Media Studies at the Faculty of Humanities within the University of Primorska and Media and Journalism within the Faculty of Media. Furthermore, in 2009 the biggest commercial television broadcaster started its POP Academy: School of Journalism and Production for Electronic Media, which tries to “deliver know-how of television journalism obtained in the last 30 years”, says Tomaž Perovič, director and editor-in-chief of the news programme at POP TV.

Slovenia does not have a long tradition of compiling statistics on the media market and news arena, however, in the last decade a number of statistical insights has risen – from different standpoints and with different interests. Primer sources for detailed information about Slovenian media include:

The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, which nowadays offers a chapter called Information Society in its Statistical Yearbook (started in 1953), and which amongst other annual data offers “some basic indicators of information society”, insights into "households’ equipment with information and communication technology”, and investigations of “traffic in fixed and mobile telephony”.

The Ministry for Culture of the Republic of Slovenia executes administrative tasks within the area of media, and system tasks in the area of audio-visual culture, and investigates and prepares reports within this framework. The Directorate for Media, among other tasks, monitors the development of media pluralism, creating and mediating media programme content, the social status of journalists, discovering public interest in the area of media and conditions surrounding the audio-visual industry, with a special emphasis on monitoring the development of audio-visual infrastructure.

In its reports the Agency for Post and Electronic Communications (APEK) annually provides the main economic indicators and renderings of developments on the telecommunications market, radiocommunications market and postal services market.

The Slovenian Advertising Chamber (SOZ) offers statistical investigations on print media readership in Slovenia, titled NRB, which is regarded as an important indicator of success of respective outlets within the Slovenian media industry. Further, the Chamber makes monthly insights into the numbers of unique visitors of Slovenian websites and on the dynamism within the “Slovenian” web. MOSS has recently become the main reference point for advertisers on the online media market.

Statistical measurements of media usage and reach are constantly made by a number of private research institutions, such as Ninamedia Mediana and Mediapool, selling their research and services to media organisations.  

The dynamism of the Slovenian media environment reflects global media trends, such as media concentration and media market uneasiness, transformations of legislature and regulation systems, crisis of public broadcasting system, and, more broadly, re-orientation of power in knowledge production in general. It appears that in the global constellation these questions have reached its most turbulent period only recently, when crisis of media and journalism as a cultural practice, which has emerged from the subordination to political and economic system, interlinked with recent global financial and economic crisis, which has deepened the uncertainties on international media markets and consequently affected the states' role in media industry, media regulation adaptation, and last but not least institutional practices of media workers and journalists. Despite many indications that media worldwide are converging toward a single “liberal” model of media and journalism, dominated by marketplace logic, it must be acknowledged that there is still quite some diversity based on local traditions and political, economic, social and cultural specifics – particularly in the time when the “liberal” media system itself has entered a period of crisis and transformation.

Slovenian media environment thus faces contemporary global issues in a specific local context, grounded on the uneasy relationship between state, civil society and media, still reflecting the transformation of the society after the adoption of Western-type emocracy and market economy two decades ago. Then normative grounding of media and journalism and their roles in the public sphere changed, power relations in media environment were shaken and the media market refined, and the ways media practitioners do their work  was affected by the increasingly individualized and flexible labour relations within the Slovenian media arena. Since then Slovenian media have been lacking a sense of security, affording no reassurance and acting awkwardly in the prospect of further change, making development trends and dynamics hard to identify and map.

In particular, the Slovenian newspaper market is considered to have reached a level of saturation, and it is, therefore, rather unlikely that new actors within the print media arena will try to enter the stage in this time of economic and financial turbulence on the “glocal” media markets. Despite the period of economic risk some important print media organisations (i.e. Delo, Dnevnik and Žurnal media) have decided to make big investments into the re-organisation of production environments and restructuring of media work in coming years, trying to optimize human resources, rationalize the production process over both media platforms and enhance synergy effects between outlets, but still cultivate a heterogeneous newsroom culture, nurture the specifics of print and online publications and (re)develop content diversity. This dynamism could bring hard-to-predict simultaneous changes within the print media and the digital media arena, which could together influence broadcasters, foremost RTV Slovenia and Pro Plus, and their activities online – in terms of restructuring production and redeveloping of their content. Further, upcoming transition to digital broadcasting could offer the broadcasters new business opportunities and give viewers more choice of content and services. At the same time, however, policy makers should think of ways of helping all the broadcasters to be actively involved in the digital switch over process without taking too big risks.

Media legislature is facing turbulent times, primarily because the left-wing government has started the process of revision of the Mass Media Act, refining for example “the right for correction” and the procedures of annual financing for radio and television programs of special significance, and of the Law on RTV Slovenia, changing for instance the formation and functions of the Programming Council. Further transformations of dynamics in the media environment are thus likely, but hard to foresee, foremost because changes of media ownership are continuous and often non-transparent, and because traditional media organisations are in desperate search of a new economic model, which would compensate the fall-out of revenue, resulting from declining circulation and readership, and at the same time it could reorient current processes in the media arena, consequences of which could be especially harsh in the prospect of future developments of “glocal” financial and economic crisis.

Igor Vobič
Teaching Assistant in Journalism Studies
Department for Journalism
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana
Kardeljeva ploščad 5, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tel: +38615805234
E-mail: igor.vobic@fdv.uni-lj.si

Marko Milosavljević
Ph.d., Head of Journalism Department and Associate Professor in Journalism Studies
Department for Journalism
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana
Kardeljeva ploščad 5, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tel: +38615805253
E-mail: marko.milosavljevic@fdv.uni-lj.si