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Dias Publishing Group

June 28, 2011

Since Tuesday was a slow day spent in the Old City shopping for gifts, I decided not to subject you to the agonizing details of my excursion and move straight on to Wednesday 😉 There weren’t any pictures anyway haha .. So that brings us to Wednesday and our tour of Dias Publishing Group in Nicosia.

Dias Publishing Group was an interesting experience due to the fact that what they are doing is something you will never see in the States due to FCC rules and regulations. Dias is a media mogul here in Cyprus which owns television stations (Sigma Television and Sigma Sports 1&2), radio stations (Radio Proto, Super FM, Star FM, and Top FM), newspapers (Simerini and City Free Press), many types of magazines, and their own web portal. Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it, they run them all under one roof.

What Dias Publishing Group is doing is outrageous (to us of course) and brilliant all at once. While touring the building with one of their marketing staff members, it was clear how much he loved his job and being able to offer his clients the “full package.” To anyone familiar with marketing, you might have put two and two together at this point and realized WHAT it is Dias can offer their client. While most businesses would have to hire an advertising agency to find outlets for their ads through TV, radio, magazines, web, and newspapers, Dias can act as their own advertising agency, offering ALL of these things to their client with one check and one signature.

Now for those who are unfamiliar with the FCC’s rules and regulations, you might be wondering WHY we can’t do this in the US. Well, the answer is actually pretty simple, despite the wordiness of the actual rules and regulations. It is simply because they do not want one company (such as Dias) running a sort of monopoly in the media, in turn only exposing the citizens to one point of view via multiple media outlets. This is actually better for us, because we see many points of view and are more clear (and I mean more clear, not completely clear by any means) of biases in our media. And living in such a media hungry country, this is definitely for the best. It is also the reason our group (being journalism students for the most part) found Dias Publishing Group to be somewhat outrageous.

But enough with the boring stuff, I will go ahead and give you all some pictures .. because you doesn’t like a little behind the scenes look at what the big guys are doing? The first thing I noticed walking into the Dias building was how beautiful their lobby was. Their was a double marble staircase and the walls were lined with interesting portraits. Compared to the television and radio stations I have visited back home, this place was fit for a king!

The staircase and grand piano in Dias

One of the paintings on the wall

I figured this over the top entry was just a sign of things to come and I was right. While some areas were outdated, others were incredibly modern. The building was a huge stair-filled maze with something new around every corner. We met our tour guides and they were much younger and a lot of fun! They made jokes and made the tour go by quite a bit faster so that was nice.

Our tour guides at Dias with Laura (GLS) in the background

We got started right away and headed to our first stop: the news room. While this room was like any other typical news room, what was interesting was the fact that the journalists (who happened to be in their morning briefing when we arrived) were gathering news for both TV and the newspaper. Considering that, it was a very small room for all of the business conducted inside. They explained to us that each journalist was assigned a specific job (crime, sports, business, etc.) but that they always have at least 2 journalists in the office to send out for breaking news. I guess on an island the size of New Hampshire with just over 800,000 residents, 2 breaking news journalists is sufficient!

The newsroom at Dias

The journalists in their morning briefing, receiving their assignments for the day

After the newsroom we were off to the web portal management center. Dias recently started a website that provides Cypriots with shows, videos, news, and much more via their web portal. We asked if their content was free, because we noticed they actually posted full length episodes of every show. We were surprised to find out it was completely free, and they were just as surprised to find out that in the US we do not get that sort of content for free. They explained that this was probably because of how far behind us they are in the media world. We tend to forget that Cyprus just aired their first private channels in the early 1990s.

Our tour guide modeling the Dias web portal for us

The radio station was next and we gathered in a small room while a live show was being broadcast a few rooms down. The radio station was .. aged, to say the least. I honestly could not find anything modern about it. It looked like something straight out of the 60s. There was even an old Beatles album cover taped to the dirty white walls! Other than the age, the radio station functioned just as those in the US do. We learned that Dias’ radio stations are top in the market. Unlike in the US where we have country stations, rock stations, top 20 stations, etc., Dias has only one music station which plays different music types throughout the day. They explained that due to their small population, offering so many different stations like we do in the US would simply be impractical.

The old radio station at Dias

After seeing the outdated radio station, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it was time to head to the television studios. We were going to the news set, morning show set and the talk show set. I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice all of the sets were! They were very modern and the news set even had a huge digital screen. Modern sets seem to be a trend here, while most television sets in the US still seem to be pretty traditional.

S for Sigma TV underneath the news table

The huge digital screen behind the news set

The talk show set at Dias

The morning show set at Dias

Dias produces most of their shows in house which is really unusual compared to the US. While Dias claims to have at least 85% of their shows produced in house (keep in mind, they are simply a local station), is is basically the opposite in the US at any local station. It is actually quite a feat for them to do this and it was very impressive! After seeing the sets and learning about the shows, our guides took us to what would be considered master control. This area also looked very up to date which made me think they might simply use radio as a backup, because it was so much older than everything else in the huge studio.

One part of master control

The other part of master control

 

The tour winded down and we all went to sit in the lobby while our guides gathered some magazines together to show us. At this point, I simply felt overloaded with all of the things they do at Dias. It was incredible! The guides came back with the magazines and the variety was quite interesting .. Beauty, sports, special interests .. a little bit of everything! And they even had some American reproduced magazines, suited to the Cypriot culture.

The guides showing off a few of Dias' magazines

Dias Publishing Group was definitely an interesting experience and something so different than what we are used to in the US. In a way, it made me thankful for the way our media works. I almost feel like Cypriots are somewhat cheated by their media, receiving so much news from ONE source and possibly not always getting the full story. It is an eye opener to see how things work in a strange, new country compared to what you have grown up knowing. But being emerged into a culture where YOU are the minority, you learn to realize that what is “weird” to you is normal to someone else .. Sensitivity is key and acceptance is essential. And to me, that is a pretty important lesson. So until next time, stay tuned!

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