TOP Channel

The national broadcaster Top Channel TV began transmission in December 2001, under the leadership of Dritan Hoxha, which at the time was the sole shareholder of the company Top Channel LLC. At is foundation the TV channel brought in a talented staff of journalists, which together with the latest technology, turned Top Channel into Albania’s favorite small screen in a short period of time. In 2003, Top Channel TV was able to cover all Albania’s territory with its signal, while in 2004 it started transmitting in Europe through the pay per view platform DigitAlb, also founded by Hoxha. Since its early years of operations, Top Channel brought to Albania internationally syndicated programs like Big Brother and The Voice. Meanwhile its locally grown formats, like the popular comedy show ‘Portokalli’ (Orange) or the investigative news show ‘Fiks Fare’, also gained in popularity, and were copy-catted by the competition.

In 2007, Top Channel was the most popular TV station in Albania, when his owner Dritan Hoxha sold 60% of its shares. Documents deposited in the National Business Center show that Hoxha sold 40% of the shares to Albert Sino and 20% to Aurel Baci for a total value of 315.2 million Lek (2.6 million USD). The agreement for the sale of the shares in 2007, was the source of a legal battle after the accidental death of Dritan Hoxha. Hoxha’s widow, Vjollca Hoxha, claimed in court that the sale contract was not valid and had been signed without her consent as a spouse. The legal saga ended in 2017, when Tirana’s Appeal Court recognized the heirs of Dritan Hoxha as the sole owners of the company. With a 16-year history in the audiovisual market and the public battles fought by its late owner Dritan Hoxha with former right-wing Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Top Channel created the perception of a TV station close to the current Prime Minister Edi Rama. However, in the last few months the TV station has turned very critical toward Rama, registering its first change in editorial line since its foundation.

Key facts

Audience Share

9.06% Telemetrix / 16.15% Abacus

Ownership Type

Private

Geographic Coverage

national

Content Type

Free-to-air (digital)

Active Transparency

company/channel informs proactively and comprehensively about its ownership, data is constantly updated and easily verifiable

4 ♥

Media Companies / Groups

Top Media

Ownership

Ownership Structure

Top Channel is owned by the shareholding company Top Channel. Vjollca Hoxha and her four children own 100 % of the company. Top Channel itself owns 4.42 % of shares at the telecommunication shareholding company, Hightel Tower Albania.

Voting Rights

Only shareholders have voting rights.

Individual Owner

Media Companies / Groups
Facts

General Information

Founding Year

2001

Affiliated Interests Founder

Dritan Hoxha - Dritan Hoxha’s controversial business career started as a coffee importer; however, it was his investment in media that made him famous, often dubbed as a ‘pioneer of digital media’ in the region. In 1998 Hoxha founded Top Albania Radio and three years later Top Channel TV, which in a short period of time became the most popular television in Albania, due to his staff of famous journalists and cutting edge technology. In 2004 Hoxha launched the pay-per-view platform DigitAlb, which strengthened further his media conglomerate, Top Media. Hoxha died on May 23, 2008 at age 40, in a deadly accident with his Ferrari 599. His funeral was attended by high state dignitaries, like than President Bamir Topi and current Prime Minister Edi Rama. However, Hoxha did not have a smooth relationship with all politicians. Before he passed away he had a deep conflict with former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, over satellite broadcasting licenses and a number of corruption scandals of the Democratic Party led government broadcast by Top Channel TV. These investigations created a perception that the broadcaster was close to than Tirana mayor and opposition leader Edi Rama, now the Prime Minister of Albania. However, during the last few months the TV station has transmitted a number of critical stories that target the Rama government, which for many observers signals a change in its editorial line for the first time in two decades.

Affiliated Interests Ceo

Vjollca Hoxha - After Dritan Hoxha's death, his widow Vjollca and their four children, Loresa, Sara, Redia and Itan inherited his companies. However, Vjollca kept a low public profile until 2015, when she took over the administration of Top Channel TV and filed a lawsuit against two of its shareholders, Albert Sino and Aurel Baci, who she accused of acquiring the stake in the company illegally. Hoxha won the case in June 28, 2017, and took control of 100 per cent of the shares of Top Channel, together with her children. In addition to Top Channel television, the Hoxha family owns 51 % of DigitAlb, Top Albania Radio, the online portal Gazeta-Shqip.com, SARAS publishing house, the music distribution company My Music and shares at the telecommunication company Plus. From 2014, Top Channel is involved in a joint venture company called Hightel Tower Albania, together with its main competitor TV Klan and the businessman Samir Mane.

Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief

Endri Xhafo – is a journalist and a moderator of political talk shows. Since November 2017, he is the provisional managing director of the news division at Top Channel TV.

Affiliated Interests other important people

Ben Blushi – is an Albanian politician, writer and journalist. He was the editor in chief of the daily newspaper “Koha Jone” during the 90s, but he embarked upon a political career in the cabinet of Socialist Prime Minister Fatos Nano in 2000. He firstly became Prefect of Korça and later served as Minister of Education and Local Governance. In 2005, Edi Rama took over the Socialist Party and Blushi was among his supporters. Later, he became one of the biggest opponents of Rama. Blushi left Socialist Party in 2016 and created LIBRA, a new movement of anti-establishment rhetoric. On its first electoral test in June 2017, LIBRA failed to elect any members into the Parliament. On 20 January 2018, Blushi left politics and returned in media. One week later he was appointed as General Director of Top Channel TV station.

Contact

Top Channel, "17 Nentor", 20 Mezez Koder;

Komuna Kashar, Tirana;

Tel.: +355692080500

Website: top-channel.tv

Financial Information

Revenue (in Mill. $)

12.4 Mio $ / 1.59 Bn Lek

Operating Profit (in Mill. $)

0.009 Mio. $ / 1.1 Mio Lek

Advertising (in % of total funding)

Missing Data

Market Share

39.0%

Further Information

Meta Data

The ownership structure and financial statement are publicly available on the Albanian National Business Registry. The financial data provided are for 2016. The Central Bank's average exchange rate for 2016 was used to convert the amounts into USD. For the purpose of evaluating weight of assets and revenues of this company in the media market, MOM have calculated the value of assets, revenues and profits of 8 TV companies/groups with free-to-air outlets. The companies included in the calculation are as follows: Top Channel, Klan, Media Vizion, Multiscreen, Focus Media News, ABC News, Ora News and Scan. This calculation does not include the pay-per-view distributors DigitAlb, Tring TV and the Public Broadcaster RTSH. Top Channel replied to the information request made by MOM team on 29 December 2017. Audience share for Top TV stations was provided by Abacus Research and Telemetrix for 2017, the data are conflicting that’s why both audience shares are presented. See sources for more.

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    BIRN ALBANIA
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    BMZ