Wednesday, 28 October 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.


One of the most lucrative global businesses in recent years has been live broadcasts of sports events attracting millions of viewers every day. Everyone wants to be in that race for money, time and new technologies. Football leagues are awash with unimaginable sums of money and the cost of broadcasting football rights in Europe keeps getting higher and higher, with the most profitable and sought-after European leagues being the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A.

TV rights for football competitions and matches seem to be made out of gold. What makes football the most expensive sport, at least in Europe? Who are the decision makers behind the scenes and who buys these rights? Are football TV rights raising the bar for other TV rights as well? Answers to these questions will be given by the top experts in the region: Nikola Francetić, Head of Content, Media and Broadcasting at Telekom Austria Group; Richard John Brešković, Director of Marketing at Hrvatski Telekom; Radisav Vulićević, General Manager of Arena Sport; Victor Blundell Senior Vice President for Eastern Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at IMG Media. The discussion will be moderated by Ivica Blažičko, Editor-in-chief of Croatian Football TV.

“Football has long ago ceased to be just a game, today it is the biggest business in all its aspects”, said Arena Sports Director Radisav Vuličević. “Such a price of football as a sport has left its mark on the value of TV rights as well. Their sale goes in two directions: towards commercial televisions and towards Pay TV platforms. The former live off ads, whereas the latter live off distribution. Every seller of rights lives for competitive markets and has high expectations of them, but the amount of money being sent as the final offer is still dictated by the calculator, regardless of whether certain football programs, on account of their attractiveness and image, carry the prefix UNIQUE. An increase in prices in official offers generally doesn't affect the prices of other sports rights or other (non-sports) content. All due respect to Hollywood, but top-quality football is the biggest blockbuster.”

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Sport on Pay TV platforms

In 2016, the English club Manchester United became the club with the biggest revenue in the world – a record of $735 million. What is interesting is that when it comes to English clubs, the smallest proportion of their revenues comes from the sale of tickets and their fans' spending on match days and the revenue from the sales of sports equipment – the key role has the revenue from TV rights.

In the period from 2016 to 2019, apart from £5.5 billion from domestic TV rights, the Premier League has earned an additional £3 billion from TV rights on the international market. This is one of the reasons why the English Premier League is the third most powerful professional sports league in the world, right behind the MLB (£9.5 billion) and the NFL (£13 billion).
“Almost all Pay TV platforms offer their users an abundance of diverse and valuable content. The most important and high-quality film, lifestyle, documentary, music and children’s content is available on all platforms. In addition, there are numerous channels that can at least partially replace almost any channel in these genres. Sports and live broadcasts of the most attractive sports competitions are practically the only content-related difference between platforms that can't be replaced with similar content. This is also the main advantage of Pay TV platforms compared to global OTT platforms. As long as platforms and televisions compete for the acquisition of rights for premium sports content, their value will not decrease”, said Nikola Francetić, Head of Content, Media and Broadcasting at Telekom Austria Group.

Victor Blundell, Senior Vice President at IMG Media, a global leader in sports, media and events, who has been leading for the last 15 years all media-related activities in Central & Eastern Europe, Turkey, Middle East & North Africa, is looking forward to NEM and the discussion on the price of football:
“It will be an excellent location to meet other executives and discuss the ever-evolving media landscape”, said Blundell, who has acquired and sold the audiovisual rights for a host of football properties, including the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga and the Italian Serie A, in Eastern Europe.

Agenda and all speakers announced

It’s still not too late to secure your badge, and if you still have some doubts, take a look at the NEM 2018 agenda at, as well as the list of excellent speakers coming to Dubrovnik in less than a month All accommodation capacities are fully booked.

What seemed like a long, cold winter has absolutely been broken over the past week as temperatures in Dubrovnik are touching thirty degrees. The historic Old City is awash with tourists and the sights and sounds of summer.

Cruise ships are arriving, although the flow of passengers seems more controlled in comparison to previous years, and the Stradun is a constant stream on events. Temperatures today reached 29 degrees and had tourists crowding around the public fountains, some got a little more carried away than others.

Check out our photo gallery by Zeljko Tutnjevic

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Our resident "Style Guru" has been scanning the streets of Dubrovnik this week for the latest and greatest in fashion. Summer is just around the corner and the streets of the Old City of Dubrovnik are certainly warming up.

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The Croatian tourism industry can expect some massive investment over the next five years according to a new report from the consultancy company Ernst & Young. An expected 1.2 billion Euros will be invested along the Adriatic coastline on the hotel industry.

An impressive 88 hotel developments are expected to be completed by 2022, mainly along the coastline.

And the report highlighted an interesting shift in where the money is coming from. Most of the developments in tourism in Croatia until now have come from European countries, but now 42 percent of these new hotels are being built with Asian money, putting them on the same level as Croatian investors.

Marija Norsic of Ernst & Young’s department for consulting in the tourist and hotel industries said that 60 percent of all investments refer to completely new projects and hotels, with the remaining 40 percent going to renovations of existing hotels.

The iconic ferry that connects Dubrovnik to the neighbouring Elaphite Islands arrived back for duty today.

The much loved ship will start operating tomorrow after being out of action for 45 days due to a complete overhaul.

Postira is the oldest ship in the ferry company “Jadrolinija” fleet but is held in high regard by its passengers.

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The 2018 UEFA Champions League Final in Kiev had a few touches of Croatian this year. Apart from the fact that Luka Modrić, the Real Madrid star midfielder, winning his fourth Champions League, the final was opened by the most popular Croatian pop duo, 2Cellos.

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Photo - Tonci Vlasic 

As Liverpool FC and Real Madrid walked out onto the pitch at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev they were greeted by the 2Cellos.

Luka Šulić wore a Liverpool shirt and Stjepan Hauser a Real Madrid one, although when asked by the media who they wanted to win they were very diplomatic and commented “I hope the match will be as interesting as possible with lots of goals.”

From a population of 4.1 million a massive 1.23 million people are retired and receiving a pension. The aging population of Croatia, combined with a migration of young professional workers, means that the over 27 percent of the county are retired, or one of the highest figures in Europe. In comparison 18 percent of the UK are retired and 15 percent in the USA.

Can Croatians look forward to a generous pension in their old-age? According to latest statistics the average pensioner in Croatia is more likely to be worrying how to pay the bills than planning a weekend break by the sea. The average pension in March 2018 in Croatia was a mere 2,552 Kunas, or around €345 or £302 or $402.

1.23 million people received a pension in Croatia in March 2018 and for that figure around 847,000 had less than the average pension of 2,552 Kunas. Whereas at the other end of the scale a little over 49,000 pensioners had a pay-out of over 6,000 Kuna.

You are travelling to Croatia and want to keep up with your favourite Netflix serial or catch the latest blockbuster. Can you watch Netflix in Croatia? The answer is yes. Whether you are sunning yourself on the beaches in Dubrovnik or trekking in the wilds of Slavonia you be able to watch your favourite Netflix show.

As of the 6th of January 2016 Netflix has been available in Croatia.

However, you’ll have to check which serials and films will be available in Croatia, because due to licensing agreements the playlist of Netflix varies from country to country. As of the end of last year there were 205 TV shows and 568 films available on the Croatia version of Netflix. Which when you compare it to other countries, USA 1,081 TV shows and 4,579 movies, is quite often less than you are used to.

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However, thanks to a European Union regulation in 2017 all the 28 members are able to watch the same choice of programs. The agreement, which was part of the European Commission's Digital Single Market strategy, enables users to enjoy the content while traveling across Europe in the same way they would access it at home.

In fact, 190 countries throughout the world now have Netflix.

So if you are travelling from within the European Union Netflix will be able to recognise you home country through payment details and provide you with exactly the same service. Will UK citizens be affected by Brexit, and possibly lose this service, is yet to be announced. So if you are travelling to Croatia for a fortnight on the beach this summer you’ll be able to entertain the children or catch up on Breaking Bad with a cocktail in your hand.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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