The security crisis in the region impacts the advertising market in the Republic of Moldova. Since the conflict in the neighboring state started, many local and foreign companies suspended or withdrew their advertising from some TV channels, though ads were one of the vital sources of existence for media service providers. Such channels’ representatives describe the current situation in the field rather pessimistically, but hope it might stabilize.
DIRECT IMPACT ON ADVERTISING BUDGETS
Alexandru Burac, Jurnal TV Commercial Director, confirms that, since the military actions in Ukraine were initiated, several local and international companies announced they were suspending or withdrawing their advertising. “Our neighbors’ situation in the region has directly affected us. Throughout the week, both our international and local customers cease or postpone their advertizing. We hope the situation settles down. Everyone says they are about to take a break and monitor the circumstances,” Burac says.
He specifies that currently, several economic processes, starting with the import of raw materials, are “frozen,” and economic entities in the sector are searching for another market. “Everyone is waiting for the situation in Ukraine to clarify. (…) We hope for peace,” Alexandru Burac concludes.
“PROMOTING THE WAR”: A REASON TO WITHDRAW ADVERTISING FROM A TV CHANNEL
Svetlana Buzu, TV8 General Director, has also told Media Azi that several local and international companies announce they are withdrawing their advertising. Whereas small businesses face difficulties due to the impossibility of providing transportation for the goods, the foreign ones claim they are reluctant to advertise on the channels which “promote the war.” “As long as the imported goods are delivered from Ukraine and Russia, it is obvious that business people cannot count on advertising specific products. They are also on our market, and one of them has withdrawn. We also mean an international company which obviously manufactures a large part of its products at several factories in Russia. At first, they withdrew all the advertising, and after that, they returned four days later and withdrew it only from Publika, TV8, and Jurnal TV, claiming they would not like to appear in the advertising blocks at the channels which promote the war. I have no idea of what they mean by promoting the war, but, of course, we will avoid broadcasting concerts or movies in the context of the events in Ukraine,” Svetlana Buzu says.
She does not disclose the name of the company, but specifies it is one of the largest advertising providers in the local market. The decision of the economic entity has a large impact on their activity: “If the situation gets worse, we risk losing the ads completely.” Her team planned to reduce its financial dependence on external donors this year. Due to the decreasing income from advertising, it would be impossible; moreover, they would need to ask for more support. “Lord willing and there is peace in the country, these customers have to return,” the director says confidently.
Ghenadie Braghis, Pro TV Sales Director, also mentions “a dramatic drop in the number of advertising placement orders on both the Pro TV channel and the protv.md news portal.” “The tense situation in the near vicinity of the Republic of Moldova tends to worsen; hence,
we expect the advertising market to collapse, which will be followed by a drastic reduction in our company’s income,” Ghenadie Braghis comments.
WILL LOCAL TV CHANNELS DISAPPEAR?
Octavian Hanganu, Casa Media Commercial Director, whose company sells advertising, including for Publika TV, says forecasts regarding the impact of the war are far from optimistic. According to his estimates, the advertising market has already been affected by 10% after the draft law on prohibiting the broadcasting of gambling advertising came into force, and afterwards, the economy also suffered due to increasing prices for fuel which undermined citizens’ and economic entities’ purchasing power.
He explains how exactly the events in Ukraine affect the advertising segment in our country. “For instance, all the teas in Moldova, the entire tea segment, are from Russia, and it means that all the advertising budgets for Russian teas disappear immediately unless the relations are restored. We have no other teas available at the moment, and we’ll have to wait for them to appear. Here’s another example: all the goods related to coffee come from Russia and Ukraine. Mayonnaise and other sauces are also from Russia and Ukraine. Again, they will disappear. All the goods related to household appliances come from Russia. They’re even manufactured at the factories in Russia. All of them disappear,” Hanganu says.
“If it lasts for one more week, we can affirm that the advertising market in the Republic of Moldova is gone,” he concludes.
Hanganu also remarks that the online area was the first one to be affected by the events in the neighboring country, including due to the fact that Facebook and Google were censored and, as a result, monetization disappeared, the traffic slowed down, and several companies withdrew their advertising to avoid being associated with negative news.
Hanganu does not rule out any pessimistic scenarios, noting that, currently, citizens do not focus on advertising when shopping, and what they need is the most necessary items: “The present-day situation is unsuitable for advertising or marketing. If the war continues, it will bring very serious consequences for the economy and, consequently, advertising as the engine of the economy will be one of the first spheres to disappear, which will result in the disappearance of the local TV channels. All we’ll have is the international ones.”