15 November 2013, 18:12

Moscow to discuss mass media of the future

NAB President Eduard Sagalayev

NAB President Eduard Sagalayev

NAB President Eduard Sagalayev

"Mass Media of the Future Are Being Born Today" is the title of the XVII congress of the Russian National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) due to be held in Moscow on November 19-20. Russian Communications Ministry officials, representatives of domestic media holdings and telecom operators and guests from international organizations will discuss new ways of communicating with audiences and the future of regional media. President of the Voice of Russia state radio company Andrei Bystritsky will be among the speakers at the forum. NAB President Eduard Sagalayev in an interview with the VoR underscored the significance of the upcoming event.

What are they key topics on the congress’s agenda?

The title of the congress – "Mass Media of the Future Are Being Born Today" – says much already. Technologies are rapidly changing, the Russian television is being digitalized – and this new digital environment gives birth to mass media of the future. Today it’s hard to tell where is television and where is the Internet, or where is a TV screen and where is a computer screen, or a tablet or a smartphone. This new digital reality shapes new mass media formats.

Debates about digital broadcasting have been going on for years. How is the federal program being implemented?

That’s precisely what we are going to talk about: the implementation of the federal program. General Director of the Russian Broadcasting Network Andrei Romanchenko will speak about the course of digitalization and the concept of putting analogue broadcasting out of service. By 2015, all analogue transmitters within a radius of 300 km from the border are to be switched off. This concerns television. Ten digital TV channels will share the same frequency.

Do you mean the so-called Multiplex-1 (several TV channels using one digital channel)?

Yes. And there will also be Multiplex-2. Multiplex-1 will basically comprise federal TV channels as stipulated by the presidential decree, while Multiplex-2 has been created on a competitive basis and will also have 10 channels, including STS and REN-TV.

What about digital radio? A few days ago, Deputy Communications Minister Alexei Volin said that the ministry had abandoned plans to digitalize radio broadcasting. Could you elaborate?

FM-broadcasting will remain. Radio has nothing to fear. It has long been using digital technologies and no one is going to reverse it. But if you mean satellite-based digital radio, it’s economically inexpedient.

Will foreign language broadcasting be discussed at the November congress? What should we expect here?

Andrei Bystritsky will deliver a report precisely on that subject. That’s already something. And in December, there will be an international broadcasting congress where these issues will also be brought up. The November congress will be mostly about television.

Last year’s congress outlined prospects for regional TV and radio companies. Has anything been done?

Honestly, very little. The development of regional digital television poses a serious problem because there aren’t enough frequencies for Multiplex-3. We are looking for a solution - for frequency resources and new technologies for new-generation television. The transfer of part of regional television to cable or satellite is being considered as a possibility. There have been some positive shifts as to that.

Among the speakers at the congress there will be some high-ranking foreign figures, for example, David Wood, Chairman of the 6th Congress of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and Director of Technology and Innovation of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Simon Fell, and we also have Sergei Kalugin, General Director of Russia’s Rostelecom, and many others.

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