New ČTK director general aims to diversify revenues

Jaroslav Kábele
Jaroslav Kábele (computer generated image based on official portrait)

Jaroslav Kábele, the current head of strategy and development at the Czech News Agency (ČTK), has been elected to replace Jiří Majstr as director general for the next six years. The decision was taken today by the ČTK Council after a public hearing of the candidates.

Kabele received the support of five of the seven members of the Council and will be officially appointed at the next Council meeting on 17 April. Majstr's 12-year term will end on 10 June.

A total of three candidates were vying for the position, including Tomáš Pergler, editor of the news site Seznam Zprávy and former ČTK foreign correspondent, and Jan Mrzena, a producer and former chairman of the Czech Television Council.

Kábele's vision for the agency is to emphasise its independence and reliability. To generate additional revenue, he plans to focus on non-media clients as well as media clients. He highlighted the fact that the current revenue split is 70 per cent media and 30 per cent non-media, while in Austria 60 per cent of agency revenues come from non-media clients.

Kabele has several new projects in mind, including the creation of a press centre to host press conferences and events directly in the ČTK building. He also plans to continue media training for PR professionals and journalism students, and to expand the agency's PR services, which will remain strictly separate from news reporting.

Originally established in 1918 as a state agency, ČTK has operated as a financially independent public institution since 1993. The ČTK Council, a seven-member body elected by the Chamber of Deputies, supervises the agency's activities. The Czech News Agency currently employs 250 people.

Although the agency expects to make a loss of CZK 4.8 million this year due to rising energy prices and inflation, it expects to make a profit of CZK 4.2 million in 2021 and a profit in 2022. Total revenues will increase by 5.9 per cent to CZK 283 million in 2021.