Friday, 07 August 2020
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.


How do children respond to the multitude of learning and entertainment apps? Are they more strict than the grown-ups and does the TV industry need to keep up with the latest trends that, according to experts, VOD is much better in? These are some of the questions that will be discussed at NEM 2018, which will be held in Dubrovnik from June 11-14..

Children aren’t afraid to say whether they like something or not, so it is necessary to draw a distinction between adult consumers of media content and children. Content intended for children should offer a high degree of entertainment because of their low tolerance to boredom. Appeal or visual identity is also very important because it encourages children’s curiosity and motivates them to watch a certain content or start an app.

Simple content management also has an effect on the popularity among younger audience. We have to keep in mind that today’s children have grown up with digital media – “with a cell phone in hand”, as many would say – and they truly are native speakers of the digital age. Moreover, when it comes to preschool children, as well as many schoolchildren, you can not expect them to read instructions or try to understand how a certain product actually works – for them it simply has to work the moment they lay their hands/eyes on it. They are curious by nature and want to learn – which they indeed do through everyday play with the help of digital media offering numerous possibilities for that activity.

Understanding “little bosses”

The panel “Little Bosses: Children’s Demands” will discuss experiences of media consumption among children and will be moderated by Tim Westcott, Research and Analysis Director of the Programming team at IHS Market.

“I am looking forward to attending NEM in beautiful Dubrovnik for the first time to chair the ‘Little Bosses: Children’s Demands’ panel. For younger viewers, linear television channels are just one part of their media consumption experience. I will be looking to find out about how today’s content providers are approaching this audience from a great line-up of speakers, including one of the major global children’s entertainment brands, one of the pioneers of children’s SVoD, and one of the CEE’s key children’s channel brands”, said Westcott, referring to the following speakers: Nicholas Walters, founder of Hopster TV, Daniel Reszka, Vice President of youth and emerging brands in the CEE region, Viacom (that is, Nickelodeon), and Szilvia Maschek, Head of Kids Channels, AMC Networks International.

“Today’s youngest audiences are growing up as digital natives, with an innate ability of easy access to multiple sources for content. This opens up a multitude of opportunities for content providers, creating an exciting momentum to explore for our industry”, Reszka said.

Interactive learning through entertainment

Parents simply love apps through which their kids can learn by playing. But if an app creates an experience of interactive learning through entertainment, is easy to use, has an attractive design and does not harass children with ads – then it is a clear success. Such an app was developed by NEM panelist Nicholas Walters, CEO and founder of Hopster, a subscription app for preschool children.

new audience 2018 0909

“This is a time of massive change in the content and media industry which is fuelled by kids – their changing media consumption habits and the way they are interacting with content. With over one-third of children under 5 owning personal technology, the shift from passive linear TV to interactive SVOD apps, like Hopster, has never been greater. I’m excited to be discussing this trend with some of the leading kids entertainment platforms in Central and Eastern Europe at the region’s most exciting TV event”, said Walters, who will reveal at NEM what effect his platform full of songs, TV shows, educational games, picture books and learning materials has on children.

Szilvia Maschek of AMC Networks International wasn't trying to hide her excitement about the panel on children as the ones dictating trends: “How can the kids’ content players see the 2-to-12-year-old viewers’ diverse interest? Is it a joint view that though there is SVOD boom, it remains true that Linear TV can perfectly coexist?”, asks Maschek, who is responsible for the programming and acquisition strategy of Minimax, Megamax and JimJam channels, adding that apart from a beautiful view of Dubrovnik, NEM also provides excellent networking opportunities for all its attendees.

Accommodation is sold out

A number of interesting panels, networking events and screenings await you at NEM 2018. Join us in Dubrovnik, but hurry up for your badge. Seize an opportunity for new business stories, acquaintances and news from the TV industry. For more information visit NEM's official website:

The name caught our eye – Ragusa chocolate. This sweet delight carries a name associated with Dubrovnik, but yet the chocolate came from Switzerland.

The Republic of Ragusa was the maritime republic which is today known as Dubrovnik, from 1358 to 1808 the city was known as the Republic of Ragusa.

ragusa chocolate 2018 11

So how does a Swiss chocolate get named after Dubrovnik? The chocolates were invented in 1942 by Camille Bloch and when he was thinking of a name we remembered Dubrovnik, or Ragusa, as he had been on holiday. He decided to adopt this name because he found it pleasing to the ear and compatible with all the national languages.

According to data from the State Statistics Bureau there were 1.36 million employed people in Croatia in March, which is slightly higher than the figure in February.

Breaking down the figures it can be seen that 1.16 million people are employed in companies and 182,000 people work as freelance professionals. The biggest single sector in terms of number of people employed is manufacturing, with companies in the sector totalling 208,500 employees, down by 1.2 percent from March 2017.

According to data compiled by the state employment bureau, 178,000 Croatians were registered as unemployed in March 2018, down by 20.6 percent compared to the same month the year before.

The registered unemployment rate in March was 11.5 percent, or 2.6 percentage points down from March 2017.

The San Francisco based social media experts “Klout” have created a list of the top ten recommended Twitter experts to follow in Croatia and we are proud to announce that The Dubrovnik Times is ranked in third position.

Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rate its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score", which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measures the size of a user's social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.

The biggest Twitter influencer in Croatia is the account of the Croatian National Tourist Board, somewhat unsurprisingly as they have a massive 100,000 followers and is extremely active with stunning photos from all the country. Second on the list is the Twitter account of the popular Australian blogger, “Chasing the Donkey,” created by Sarah-Jane Begonja. And in third position on the list of Croatian Twitter experts is The Dubrovnik Times.

Further down the top ten list are the Croatian Football Association and the account of the Croatian government comes in at tenth position.

The Croatian National Tourist Board is considering opening a branch office in Dubai. The ATM – Arabian Travel Market – travel fair is still continuing in Dubai and Croatia and its tourist offer is being presented.

The travel fair in Dubai is the largest and most visited tourist fair in the Middle East, and is being held this year for the 25th time, around 40,000 tourism professionals are expected to visit this fair.

"The travel fair in Dubai is far more than just the exhibition. It is one of the biggest global events and is of great economic and cultural significance, and represents a great opportunity for Croatia. Our intention is to open a General Consulate in Dubai and also to represent the Croatian National Tourist Board and Croatian Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates,” commented the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli.

In relation to the United Arab Emirates, the Croatian tourism sector achieved 8,600 tourist arrivals and more than 23,000 overnights in 2017. This represented a growth of 78 percent in arrivals and 72 percent in overnight stays compared to 2016.

This dog owner certainly turned heads in Dubrovnik yesterday as she strolled along the Stradun with her pets.

This foreign dog owner was apparently in Dubrovnik for a dog show that is being held. With one of her pack inside a special pram, complete with its own sunroof, this caring pet lover made sure that the pack still went together.

A reader sent us these photos of the “animal kingdom” in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik.

dog pram 1

The Peljesac Bridge project will take three years to construct and will be completed by 2022, according to the Minister of Transport, Oleg Butković. The contract between the Croatian government and the constructor, China Road and Bridge Corporation, was signed yesterday in Dubrovnik and the 2.08 billion Kuna project is set to begin.

Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, who attended the signing ceremony, said that this is a "strategic project for Croatia, which will make Croatia's mainland unique, and the south of the country will be integrated with the rest of the country.”

The European Union is co-financing the project to the tune of 357 million euros, or 85 percent of the total costs. The total value of the bridge that will connect Dubrovnik with the rest of Croatia, is around 420 million Euros.

With the signing of the contracts yesterday construction works can now begin, however they could soon be stopped as the Austrian company Strabag has launched legal proceedings in the Administrative Court in Zagreb against the State Procurement Commission. If works aren’t stopped by this lawsuit, then the Chinese construction company will start work where they finished in 2008. The first step will be to make a construction project for the main pillars that will support the bridge, which according to estimates should be completed in six months. This means that if all goes to plan actual construction on site should start by the end of this year.

Croatia is going green as the government have announced an increase in the number of electric charging stations for cars around the country.

According to details from the Croatian Electric Company (HEP) there are currently 46 ELEN vehicle charging stations in Croatia, whilst the company also announced that this year they will install fast-charging stations along the Croatian highways. In 2011 there were only 9,400 electric vehicles in the European Union, but this number has grown rapidly and in 2016 there were 91,000 electric vehicles in the EU.

A senior official in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy commented that the government has plans to increase the number of charging stations throughout the country. Along with this step the government have also announced state subsidies for drivers wishing to purchase electric vehicles.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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