Marje Tõemäe: Difficult times will only make ETV stronger ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Marje Tõemäe.
Marje Tõemäe. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Editor-in-Chief of ETV Marje Tõemäe said that even though ETV has survived many tough times, it has only left the network stronger.

For example, ETV had a difficult time in the early 2000s when shutting down the network was mulled. "We were in considerable debt, there had been management mistakes and we owed what could be called substantial sums," Tõemäe said on the "Vikerhommik" radio show.

At the time, Tõemäe was working for ETV's programming procurement desk that she joined in 2000. "The first years were pretty interesting. We didn't have any money; we had no cash on hand and we couldn't pay for things we had ordered. My typical day consisted of taking calls and apologizing for not being able to come up with the money that day," Tõemäe recalled.

ETV was delivered from its difficult situation by Estonia winning the Eurovision Song Contest. As the winner, Estonia had to host the next competition. "It was clear that such a major international event needed to be hosted and it was. Perhaps that is the reason why we're still on air today," Tõemäe said.

The ETV today is somewhat different from what it was back then. "We perhaps had more courage to try different things 20 years ago. It could also be that difficult times make you bolder. You simply need to come up with a solution for digging yourself out of the hole," she said.

The most pivotal times were experienced in the early 1990s when society was also undergoing major change. "The role of television became very important. There was an insane energy in the air and things were done people wouldn't dream of today. They were times when no questions were asked, things were simply done. Those times are definitely gone now," she added.

This spring's coronavirus crisis also caused different ranges of feelings and influences to unite the ETV community and force it to come up with new solutions. The network is feeling strong heading into its new season that will bring, for example, the second season of the "Lahutus Eesti moodi" sitcom. "Our strong traditions are our trump card. We have the whales that form the backbone of our programming, while we're trying to attach exciting surprises to that locomotive to have a more versatile offering," Tõemäe said.

The editor-in-chief is not afraid of television perishing. "Linear television will survive everything. While we can talk about people consuming a lot of different media, this content will eventually reach them and it interests them. We are not directly threatened by any new technology because people need the content we produce," Tõemäe concluded.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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