Flight No 28092015
On 28 September at 6.55 a.m., the programme director pushed the button at the control centre of the brand new TV studio of Estonian Public Broadcasting and started the fist direct broadcast of the Russian-language TV programme. The long-planned ETV+ rose into the air, with new enthusiastic pilots on board, and these pilots knew nothing yet of the number of potential passengers, and just hoped at the bottom of their hearts that the flght that had started would last a long time.
The birth of the multimedia project ETV+, aimed fist of all at Russianspeaking people living in Estonia, and also all people interested in Estonia, was iconically similar to the birth of a human child. In only nine months, Estonian Public Broadcasting acquired a new studio and the necessary equipment, hired a team, developed programme formats, marketed the channel and its content as much as possible, and built up its Internet outlet. Now ETV+ can be viewed on TV screens on the whole territory of Estonia, and a large part of its programme is available all over the world via the Internet. All programmes can be watched later online.
In the planning of a Russian-language programme, Estonian Public Broadcasting did not invent a completely new spaceship, but adapted its programme logic, using the existing international models (e.g., BBC), with the aim of telling the local stories and giving the Russian-speaking people in Estonia a possibility to debate and express their opinion freely in a TV studio. The programme logic of ETV+ is that between programmes with lighter informative content and entertainment programmes, there is a programme on local culture, a topical interview, studio debate and two daily Russian news programmes of “Aktuaalne Kaamera”. Every week, tens of different and interesting Russian-speaking people and several Estonian experts and decision-makers appear in ETV+ programmes.
Before and after its fist day on air, ETV+ received many times more attention in the international press than in the domestic media. It mostly consisted in neutral news stories or mainly positive remarks, only Rossiya-1 persisted in calling the new channel an anti-Russian propaganda outlet. New Russian-language TV channel was spoken about in Broadband tv bnews, The Baltic Course, EUobserver, Global Post, NewEurope, New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, Yahoo News, The Christian Science Monitor, The Calvert Journal, Reuters, Deutsche Welle, Yle, Latvian LTV1 and LTV7, Kommersant, Derstandard.at, orf.at, Bayerischer Rundfunk, RTVi and many other inflential media channels. Such interest is natural, because the countries of the West have for years discussed the need “to expand the Russian-language information space”, but Estonia did it.
The new Russian-language channel strongly shook the rather small Russianlanguage media space in Estonia – for example, the competition between the Russian journalists increased, they all had to start dealing with issues and sources more effectively than before, new Russian media publications appeared on the market. ETV+ has already written itself in the history of Estonian journalism as an important chapter. And now the length and impact of this chapter will depend on the team of this multimedia channel.