Press agencies are facing big challenges

At the recent 2023 Press Economic Forum, a representative of HCM City Television spoke about the challenges for the press in the multimedia era.

Nguyen Duc Quang from HTV said digital platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Netflix take away ad revenue from Vietnam’s newspapers.

According to Quang, one of the great challenges is that press agencies have to implement the tasks of political propaganda, disseminating Party and State policies and earning money for regular expenses.

This means that press agencies have to compete with digital platforms and pay higher production costs to have good products for readers. They also have to allocate earnings to propaganda programs. This is a difficult task for press agencies at this time.

Meanwhile, foreign cross-border platforms have powerful financial resources, and can easily attract users. 

Some press agencies complain that their revenue has fallen by 60-70 percent. The sharp fall in ad revenue plus higher production costs makes it difficult for press agencies to balance revenue and expenditures. 

In implementing political tasks, there are regulations that set economic-technical criteria for television program production, which create favorable conditions for localities to order TV programs. 

However, the policies and support to press agencies to implement political and propaganda tasks are not strong enough, and financial resources for press agencies’ operations have been declining.

Regarding staffing, though press agencies are allowed to be responsible for arranging their financial situation, they still strictly observe current laws for state agencies, including the Budget Law and Law on Public Investment which fix spending levels, procurements and investments.

While media and television have developed rapidly, legal documents still cannot keep pace with development. This affects opportunities in competition, investment and technology upgrading. It also reduces the dynamism of press agencies which have to compete fiercely to exist.

Press agencies have to produce programs to serve political tasks, but they don’t have a way to help implement the programs. They still have to observe regulations on interest rates applied to enterprises. They also don’t receive legal support to increase revenue and reinvest in program production. 

Being bound by regulations, press agencies have less reasonable investment to produce content and pay workers, which results in a brain drain.

Hai Dang