From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Broadcast Media in the Hands of a Few Families

Albania’s main TV stations enjoyed an increase in revenue in 2019, despite difficulties as a result of the November earthquake.

The combined value of the nine main TV stations in 2019 was EUR 34,149,237, an increase of 5% on the previous year. Two new television stations were added to the market during the year- A2 CNN and Euronews Albania.

The biggest earner in 2019 was Top Channel who made over EUR 10 million. TV Klan was next with 27% of the market, then Media Vizion with 10% and CNN with 9%. While Top Channel remained on top, it did reduce by 1.2% on the previous year.

A2 CNN made just over EUR 301,000 in its first year of operation. The CNN affiliate is owned by Gener 2, a construction company owned by Bashkim Ulaj, Ahmet Ulaj, and Astrit Ulaj.

Six out of the nine television stations operate 24/7 news and debate shows while three broadcast general entertainment in addition to current affairs.

Albanian media is notorious for being owned by individuals with little experience in the media. Reporters Without Borders noted that Albanian media is in the hands of a few family-owned groups that dominate the media landscape.

It’s estimated that four major owners (the Frangaj family, Hoxha family, Dulaku family and Ndroqi family) plus the Ulaj family that own A2CNN, control as much as 78% of the television market in the country. 

In terms of online media, Ifran Huysenbelliu (Balkanweb, News 24) controls at least 30.2% of readers, and the four largest owners (Irfan Hysenbelliu, Koço Kokëdhima, Henri Çili and the Dabulla Brothers) control over 43%.

An ongoing concern is that the business interests of owners impact the editorial line of online and broadcast portals and results in censorship and self-censorship.