There are less than two weeks left before the contest for the licence to broadcast on the sixth channel of the Russian television. For the time being, the Russian sports fans still have the opportunity to watch the sports programs of the commercial NTV+ channel on TV6, but this good time is going to be over soon. To all appearances, the creations of Kiselev’s team will start being broadcast very soon. Will the return of the very same programs, which vanished from TV screens on January 21, be the true expression of the public opinion in the country? According to the data of the latest poll, only 18% of the Russian people have the positive answer to this question.
The Russian Minister for Press, Mikhail Lesin, gave it to understand that the new TV6 would not be either a sports channel, or a channel for kids, in spite of his previous statements, in which he claimed that he would rather not to express his personal preferences on the subject. The channel will remain of the public and political character. At the same time, Lesin said that the channel was not supposed to use any political views for propaganda, for “the time, when mass media participated in the political processes as an influence, has already passed by.” This is something like an “unformed, unbiased” political resource, which is good for everyone, which is created by the same unformed team of journalists with “unbiased” Yevgeny Kiselev at the head together with the Russian oligarchs.
On the whole, one may guess, how the Russian Olympic Committee, or the company Children’s Project will feel about their participation in the contest.
A possibility for a sports channel to be set up on the sixth channel of the Russian television has been repeatedly raised and discussed at the sessions of the Russian parliament. Indeed, almost all of the television channels give the first priority to political intrigues, scandals, dirty affairs, never-ending scandals and horrible catastrophes that are basically one and the same. There is even an impression sometimes that nothing happens on the boundless space of the Russian Federation. A sports channel could considerably diversify the menu of the Russian television in this respect. For the time being, there is only one channel, Culture, which is working on the preservation of the intellectual and spiritual welfare of the nation.
The president of the company 7TV, which is also to take part in the contest, Alexander Besputin, claimed that the chances of the Olympic Committee to win the tender for the broadcasting right were rather high. The Press Ministry believes that there are few political, musical, entertainment programs on television. That was more like a gesture, than the truth. But Besputin is not far from the truth, when he said that the public opinion believed that the idea of the national sports channel was vital. According to the poll, which was carried out by the company TNS Gallup Media, over 60% of the Russian people would like to watch the sports channel. Deputy general director of the company Alexander Kostyuk believes that the popularity level of the sports channel was presumably affected by several inner factors. In particular, when NTV+ started broadcasting its sports programs on the sixth channel, the people were really surprised and interested in it, for NTV+ is not really known in the country. Needless to mention that live broadcasts of the Olympic Games gave a huge rating to the channel. As Kostyuk believes, “everything could have been different in a more traditional situation.”
There should be one thing said here. Whatever the ratings to support the sports programs are, there are a lot of things, which depend on the contestants themselves: on their active or passive position, on the broadcasting concept, which they offer. The Olympic Committee will have big problems in this respect, not to mention Leonid Tyagachev’s reputation (the head of the committee), which has been spoiled a lot after the Olympics were over.
Tyagachev said that publicly that a national sports channel was an expedient idea, that such a channel could attract a lot of viewers, popularizing sports and healthy way of living. Furthermore, Tyagachev offered to combine the sports programs with the programs of the patriotic character, “which would be meant both for adults and for children, teenagers.” Well, it’s about time, really.
But one has to agree that the Russian Olympic Committee has not presented any explicit, clear conception for the masses. The alternative has not been determined in the society, so one may not expect that the word combination “sports channel” will guarantee success to its followers. The Olympic Committee did not manage to cope with the PR goal correctly, it failed to develop an attractive conception of the new television resource. The same thing can be said about those, who struggled for a channel for children. Anyway, the contest will take place on March 27.
Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov