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.’
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 publika.md 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.