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TV Popularity: ‘Primul in Moldova’ Replaced Prime TV in the Moldtelecom Program Grid

06 December 2019
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Currently, ‘Primul in Moldova’ television broadcaster, affiliated to PSRM and the one who broadcasts shows of ‘Pervyi Kanal’ from Moscow, ranks the second in the program grid of Moldtelecom – the national telecommunications operator in which the state is the sole shareholder. Previously, Prime Tv, owned by the former PD leader Vlad Plahotniuc held this position of the Moldtelecom program grid. Currently, it has moved to the 8th position. Note that ‘Primul in Moldova’ was the 25th in previous Moldtelecom program grid. Similar changes to the Moldtelecom program grid were also operated on 14 and 15 November 2019, when the Sandu Government was dismissed and the Chicu Government had not yet gained its legitimacy in Parliament.

We tried to find out how Moldtelecom explains these sudden changes in the program grid. The head of the Public Relations and Events Department, Irina Vicol, sent us the following answer to this question: ‘We would like to inform you that the changes in the IPTV program grid are operated depending on the popularity of television broadcasters and contractual relations negotiated with their owners.’

Moldtelecom listing.

According to the ‘Developments in the Electronic Communications Market in Quarter II of 2019’ of the National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (NRAECIT), the number of users of Moldtelecom paid TV services amounts to 68,801 people. In this regard, the national operator is surpassed by TV BOX SRL (represented by StarNet Solutions), which is the first with 98,711 users.

The order of channels in the StarNet TV program grid is different. Starting from the 1st place, there are  – Jurnal TV, TV 8, PRO TV, TVR Moldova, and Prime TV is the 5th. In the StarNet program grid, ‘Primul in Moldova’ TV channel is the 33rd.

Star Net (TV Box) listing.

The founder of StarNet is Alexandru Machedon – one of the funders of the ‘Platform Dignity and Truth’ Political Party and the head of the campaign office of PPDA leader Andrei Nastase.

According to the data of ‘TV MR MDL’ company  (AGB Nielson’s representative), measuring the TV audience, Prime for a long time TV held the first positions in top watched TV channels. Prime has already been the second in this top for some time, and ‘Primul in Moldova’ ranks 5th, although it has recently appeared on the market.

Average minute rating for TV channels for the period of 25.11.19-01.12.20. Source: TV MR MDL

Note that, on 14 November, Moldtelecom moved Prime TV from 2nd to 12th place, but on 15 November, the next day, without any explanation, Moldtelecom returned to the previous grid.  Then, the company representing the interests of Prime expressed dissatisfaction with the Moldtelecom’s decision and threatened the telecommunication operator with fines. Later, the posts and news with such information were deleted from the site. 
Television broadcasters ‘Primul in Moldova’ and ‘Accent TV’ belong to the Telesistem SRL, founded by Vadim Ciubara, the owner of Media Invest Service (‘Медиа Инвест Сервис OOO’ – 100%), about whom RISE Moldova investigation journalists wrote that he would be ‘the shadow adviser’ of President Igor Dodon.