The media market
Since the Revolution and new freedom of expression, media has diversified and multiplied. However, funding is needed to consolidate this diversification and allow the new actors to keep participating in the market.
The media sector is struggling today. Most companies follow a single economic model that is based on advertising. TV, radio and websites are confronted with a small advertising market, which hinders their development. Many post-revolution newspapers have even disappeared for lack of funding. On the other hand, some businessmen or politicians have the financial resources to manage to enter the media market by founding and funding their own TV channels (Al Janoubia, Zitouna TV) or websites (Tunigate).
DetailThere is awareness of the financial constraints of the media market - a special business sector that not only needs to be profitable but also to generate public goods such as objective and independent news. The HAICA set up a support fund for community radio stations and INRIC had called for a promotion fund for private television production to encourage cultural and social programs.
Advertising is the main financial resource, with the biggest share of the advertising market going to TV, radio, print and finally online media. The estimated total market is about 200 million dinars in 2015. This figure, however, does not take into account reductions through annual subscriptions, for example. The main investors are mobile operators (Tunisie Telecom, Ooredoo, Orange) or food production companies (Danone).
The media sector faces many economic challenges: First, the advertising investment depends on audience figures, which are highly contested (see audience measurement). Furthermore, competition among different media, including TV channels, which account for a large share of the market, lowers the price per minute. At the same time, because of the economic crisis, companies reduce their communication budget and invest less in advertising campaigns.
Public funding is important for the print sector. This funding includes not only public advertising, but mostly subscriptions and buying newspapers by public institutions. The cancellation of public subscription after the revolution brought a big financial loss for several newspapers. Currently, Circular No. 2016-8 of 8 April 2016 on the organization of the purchase of newspapers and periodicals by public structures intends to support the sector in increasing purchase quotas for newspapers.
The HAICA elaborated regulations on financial transparency in the specifications for media outlets. For example, the license holder must disclose publicly the company's capital and the annual balance sheet. However, the majority of Tunisian media do not comply with this procedure, and few (including the public media) agree to provide their figures upon request.
Centralisation of the market
The media market is highly centralized in Tunis. The important publishing houses and TV companies are mostly registered in Tunis and Ariana. The radio market is more regionalized with many regional radios, public, private and community ones.
INRIC (2011), Recommandation relative à l’attribution de licences pour la création de nouvelles chaines de télévision
SIGMA Conseil (2016), Investissement Publicitaire