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33 Medij. istraž. (god. 15, br. 2) 2009. (33-47) IZVORNI ZNANSTVENI RAD UDK: 316.77(474.5) Primljeno: 11. studenoga 2009. Impact of Economic and Cultural Factors on Television Production in Small Nations Auks ė Bal č ytien ė * Kristina Jurait ė ** SUMMARY While analyzing Lithuanian television production (generic diversity and TV news output on public service and commercial stations), discussion here moves on several levels of analysis. More specifically, this paper addresses economic and journalistic cultural parameters as key factors affecting con- temporary media changes in Lithuania and other small Baltic nations. As me- dia practice reveals, liberalization of the media, its gradual transition from the state-funded to the market-driven model and changing conditions of profes- sional journalism has made the media in the three Baltic countries very sensi- tive to market mechanisms. On the one hand, small size of media market, shrinking possibilities of media advertising and growing competitiveness among media players set up favorable conditions for commercialization and popularization of media content. On the other hand, the cultural 1 factor is of no less importance when assessing TV production particularities in the coun- tries of young democracy. Based on empirical evidence (generic analysis of TV production on different channels), the authors observe increasing emphasis on entertainment and soft programming rather than informational and ana- lytical programs on public service and commercial television. At the same * Auks ė Bal č ytien ė , Professor, Department of Public Communications, Faculty of Po- litical Science and Diplomacy, Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas, Donelai č io str. 58, LT-44248 Kaunas, Lithuania, e-mail: [email protected] ** Kristina Jurait ė , Associate Professor, Department of Public Communications, Fac- ulty of Political Science and Diplomacy, Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas, Dau- kanto str., LT-44246 Kaunas, Lithuania, e-mail: [email protected]
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Medij. istraž. (god. 15, br. 2) 2009. (33-47) 34 time, intensions are observed to follow the requirements of journalistic profes- sionalism (diverse and balanced reporting) on TV news programs. Key words: Baltic media, Lithuanian TV production, small market, journalism culture, public interest, public service, commercialization Introduction: small markets with peculiar journalistic cultures The size of the country affects the development and the structure of the media system. And this happens in several ways. Small production and sales markets, interventions of foreign media products, and other challenges associated with lim- ited numbers of producers, consumers and advertising money make operations of media in small states very different. As popularly conceived, the issue of market size is among the most crucial factors affecting state policies (Puppis, 2009; Bal č ytien ė , 2009b). Cultural industries (such as film, music and TV production) are very susceptible to all kinds of re- strictions, such as linguistic, cultural and financial, to mention just a few. Indeed,
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