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Fox televizija (full legal name: Preduzeće za proizvodnju i emitovanje TV programa Fox televizija d.o.o. Beograd) is a Serbianmarker commercial television network that was officially launched on December 31, 2006.

It is 49% owned by News Corporation since Serbian laws don't allow foreign subjects to own 50% percent or more of a television network with a nationwide broadcasting license.

With headquarters located in the Belgrademarker municipality of Zemunmarker, Fox televizija broadcasts 24 hours a day. It also closely co-operates with News Corp owned networks in neighboring countries such as bTV in Bulgaria and Fox Turkey, sharing production capabilities on specific projects and making use of their experiences.

Ratings and finances

According to AGB Nielsen Media Research for the calendar year 2007, among the Serbian channels with national coverage, Fox televizija held fifth place in overall viewership (4.7% TV market share and 2.2 million average daily viewers tuning in for at least one minute) behind RTS1, Pink, B92, and RTS2.

Over the calendar year 2008, Fox televizija still held the fifth place among the national broadcasters, however its market share increased to 6.4%.

According to its calendar year 2007 annual financial report submitted to Serbian Economic Register Agency, the company had 80 employees and it posted a loss of RSD494,513,000 (approximately 6.2 million at the time with the approximate exchange rate of €1=RSD80).

In the 2008 annual report, the company reported 40 employees and a loss of RSD441,330,000 (approximately €4.9 million at the time with the approximate exchange rate of €1=RSD90).

Rumoured 2008 sale

In mid-July 2008 speculation appeared that News Corp was considering offers to sell all its Eastern European assets including Fox televizija. The company reportedly hired Lehman Brothers financial-services firm to ascertain the value and strategic options of its three Eastern European stations after being approached by multiple suitors.

By early September, the activity reportedly intensified with various Serbian press outlets reporting that German RTL Group and Bermudamarker-based Ronald Lauder-managed CME were the most interested parties in buying the three Fox stations based in Serbia, Latvia, and Bulgaria.

However, by late October, both parties pulled out of the deal. CME left reportedly due to global financial crisis, while RTL decided to pursue other course of action as far as entering the Serbian television market is concerned, with their interest turning to buying TV Avala.

2009 layoffs

On August 20, 2009, ahead of its third full season on air, Fox televizija initiated massive cost-cutting measures. The move had the biggest effect on the network's news division where 60% of the employees (on-air personalities and technical staff) got laid off. On the same occasion, the network canceled the morning news program Fox 900 sekundi that had been on the air for less than a year. Fox televizija's spokesperson said the layoffs were initiated due to the "financial consequences of the economic crisis". In total, around sixty Fox televizija's full-time employees, including the news division head Tanja Vidojević, got laid off as well as tens of contractors as part of cost-cutting measures throughout News Corp.'s assets worldwide during spring and summer 2009 following heavy losses reported by News Corp. at the beginning of the year.

History

News Corp was one of the five commercial groups that won the national broadcasting license in Serbia at a public tender organized by Serbian Broadcasting Agency in April 2006. In doing so, they beat out stiff competition from German RTL Group that also wanted to start a Serbian operation. News Corp named Dan Bates, an experienced television executive to be the CEO of its upstart Serbian operation.

Some three months later on September 6, 2006, an entity named Fox televizija started broadcasting a test signal consisting only of the superimposed Fox logo. Three days later on September 9, 2006 at precisely 8pm, they played their first actual moving picture programme - a nature documentary that lasted some 45 minutes - before reverting back to the Fox logo test signal. The exact same setup (test signal most of the day with a single taped programe at 8pm) continued over the following ten days or so. Their primetime lineup was then somewhat expanded with a few Latin telenovelas, an occasional feature film, and a weekly ULEB Cup basketball game featuring Serbian teams (the basketball bradcasts were their first in-house productions). During daytime hours, they played a test signal, old episodes of canceled Croatian talk-show Sanja, and music videos. On December 5, 2006, before the ULEB Cup match featuring Red Star Belgrade vs PAOK basketball teams, a riot broke out between two sets of fans in Pionir Hall and the footage shot by Fox televizija was shown across the world.

On December 22, 2006, Fox televizija aired its first news programme featuring live reports from Belgrade's Republic Squaremarker during the decorative tree lighting ceremonies. Then on December 31 at 7pm, Fox televizija finally launched officially with a live-to-air broadcast called Fox stiže as part of their newscast Fox Danas hosted that day by Zoran Baranac and Jovana Jakić. Amongst other things, the programme featured News Corp's chairman Rupert Murdoch wishing the citizens of Serbia happy new year 2007 and an unsuccessful attempt to link up with Fox News' studio in Baghdadmarker via satellite.

During its initial period of official broadcasting, Fox telvizija's entertainment programming mostly relied on old and inexpensive American sitcoms, dramas, and soaps such as The Bold and the Beautiful, ALF, Hollywood Safari, Police Academy, with One Tree Hill, Cold Case, and The Amazing Race being the only possible exceptions to the 'cheap & old' rule. As far as locally produced content, in addition to the evening newscast Fox Danas at 7pm and the nightly one Fox Fokus at 10pm, Fox's news division covered the Serbian parliamentary elections on January 21, 2007 with a one-off programme Ubedi pobedi hosted by news division head Tanja Vidojević.

During April 2007, in co-operation with Adrenalin production, the network started its most ambitious project up to that point with an hour-long entertainment talk-show hosted by actor Marko Živić airing nightly on weekdays at 10:30pm. Pretty much simultaneously, a daytime lifestyle talk-show Katarina hosted by former model Katarina Rebrača began to air daily at 10am as well as the morning 7am programme called Fox i prijatelji.

2007-08 season

For the new season, its first one in earnest, Fox televizija renewed the lineup with a locally produced franchised quiz-show Da li ste pametniji od đaka petaka?. It also passed on Marko Živić Show and Katarina, meaning that both shows ended after just couple of months on the air. Other new programmes were WWE Wrestling with local commentators (eventually got moved to a late night slot after viewer complaints), U tuđoj koži in which local celebrities swap lives for a day (got canceled after only a couple of episodes due to extremely low ratings only to eventually resurface on competing RTV Pink), and Ludi kamen (dating game show that continues to this day). Another new show was Ne daj se, Nina, made in co-operation with Croatian RTL Televizija.

The network also started flexing its muscle in sports arena obtaining the rights for Spanish football Primera División, and later in October 2007, the rights for Adriatic Basketball League.

November 2007 saw the premiere of late night talk-show Oralno doba hosted by Lane Gutović. On December 31, 2007, the first anniversary of official broadcasting, Fox Danas and Fox Fokus newscasts both got renamed Fox Vesti.

Then in spring 2008, in cooperation with its sister networks bTV and Fox Turkey, Fox televizija started airing the local version of the French reality show Fort Boyard. Around the same time, daytime programme Posle kafe began airing weekdays at 11am hosted initially by Danka Novović, Olja Rakić, and Bojana Kesić who were soon joined by other hosts as well. In early summer 2008, morning programme Fox i prijatelji got canceled.

For the summer 2008, while its regular programmes were on hiatus, Fox televizija shifted lineup a bit and aired as Fox Non-Stop nightly from 9pm with a succession of movies and mini-series. During the same summer on July 21, 2008, the network got a scoop by first reporting the arrest of Radovan Karadžić late in the night and interrupting its regularly scheduled programming to go live on air in breaking news format until early morning hours.

2008-09 season

Starting its second full season on September 22, 2008, Fox televizija introduced a variety of changes, the most noticeable being a new visual identity similar to other News Corp stations around Europe. Also on the same day, Fox Vesti evening newscast at 7pm got moved to 6pm and extended from 30 minutes to a full hour while the 7pm slot got taken over by hit American drama Lost that thus premiered on the network. Also Fox Vesti at 10pm got moved an hour later to 11pm. In the morning, news programme Fox 900 sekundi premiered at 7am as replacement for Fox i prijatelji. About a month later Survivor Srbija (local version of the global reality show that got shot during summer 2008) started airing. In late December, Fajront Republika, weekly entertainment talk-show premiered and right away established a devoted youth following that translated into strong ratings.

On February 14, 2009, the first season finale of Survivor Srbija aired live, bringing the network its biggest audience share ever. After the end of Survivor season, the network introduced a Japanese sports entertainment show Ninja Warrior, which has managed to post strong ratings as well.

Current programming

Entertainment

Internationally created dramas, comedies and telenovelas currently broadcast by Fox televizija (as of November 2009):
Original name Serbian translation Origin
Acorralada Ukradena sreća
Dame Chocolate Slatka tajna
Cybill Sibil
Charmed Čari
Na terapiji -
Crni Gruja -
Pucca Puka





Quizzes, Talk, and Reality Shows:

Sports



News

  • Fox 900 sekundi (morning news programme at 7am)
  • Vesti (daily news bulletin at 11:30am, 3:30pm, 6pm, and 11pm)


Lifestyle

  • Top Speed (weekly automotive magazine, Saturdays at 7pm)
  • Exclusive (lifestyle magazine, Saturdays at 6.30pm)
  • Domaćin (agricultural magazine, Saturdays at 8:30am)
  • e-TV (IT magazine, Sundays at 9:00am)


Previously aired programming

Previously aired international shows by Fox televizija (some of them possibly returning):
Original name Serbian translation Origin
Corazón partido Slomljeno srce
VicToria Viktorija
El Juramento Tajne i laži
Madre Luna Plamen ljubavi
Pecados Ajenos Ljubav i greh
Amarte así Frijolito Seme strasti
La Viuda de Blanco Bela udovica
La mujer en el espejo Žena u ogledalu
América Amerika
El Cuerpo del Deseo Druga strana ljubavi
Un Paso Adelante Korak napred
Everybody hates Chris Svi mrze Krisa
Thunder in paradise Grom u raju
Midsomer Murders Ubistva u Midsomeru
Largo Winch Largo
Cold Case Zločini iz prošlosti
Married… with Children Bračne vode
Man vs. Wild Ekstremno preživljavanje
Lost Izgubljeni
One Tree Hill Tri Hil
The Bold and the Beautiful Odvažni i lepi
Hollywood Safari Holivud safari
ALF Alf
The Lost Room Izgubljena soba
Falcon Beach Plaža Falkon
BeastMaster Gospodar zveri
The Dresden Files Dosije Drezden
Skins Do kože
First Monday Prvi ponedeljak
Hidden Palms Tajne Palm Springsa
The Handler Krtica
Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story 2 Napoleon i Žozefina
Jelena -
Comanche Moon Mesec Komančija

Previously aired Quizzes and Reality Shows (some of them possibly returning):

Criticism & controversy

Fox televizija created a minor controversy in early September 2007 when it decided to take its late-night programme, the Marko Živić Show, off the air. Despite becoming fairly prominent over a short period (it premiered on April 24, 2007), the official statement released by Fox said the cancellation was "a temporary measure that came about through a desire to free up Fox televizija's fall schedule for more movies and series". However, some Serbian print outlets very much wondered why would a network that's struggling for viewership be taking its best rated programme off the air.

References

  1. Agencija za privredne registre
  2. Zakon o radiodifuziji
  3. RTS1 najgledanija televizija 2007. godine, MTS Mondo
  4. December 31, 2008
  5. Finasijski izvestaj za 2008
  6. Lehman to advise News Corp on 3 European stations, Reuters.com, July 16, 2008
  7. Nemački RTL želi „Foks“ - Rupert Mardok prodaje TV stanice u istočnoj Evropi, Blic, September 4, 2008
  8. Foks preživeo, Press October 28, 2008
  9. Otkazi na Foksu, Press, August 21, 2009
  10. Mardok naredio otkaze na Foksu, Press, August 22, 2009
  11. MySpace Set to Lay Off 400 Workers , NY Times, June 16, 2009
  12. FOX O&O Layoff Watch: News Corp Reports Massive $6.4 Billion Dollar Loss; Local Stations Declined 44%, February 5, 2009
  13. News Corp.’s “Fox Televizija” Awarded National Television License in the Republic of Serbia, NewsCorp Press Release, April 20, 2006
  14. Red Star vs. PAOK December 5, 2006
  15. Ukinut „Marko Živić šou“ - Tv „Foks“ skinula s programa najgledaniju emisiju, Blic, September 1, 2007


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