“There was no political interference” in the selection of the media involved in the ‘Stay Home – Stay Safe’ media campaigns. The selection was made with technocratic criteria only “testified the president and CEO of the company Initiative Media, Michalis Galgos, to the parliamentary committee of inquiry to investigate the management of the communication campaign assigned to him. Regarding the exclusion of the newspaper Documento, Mr. Galgos testified that the relevant proposal belonged to his company, which estimated that the content of the newspaper during that period, was in complete contradiction with the messages of the campaign. The proposal was then considered by the joint team with the contracting authority, and it was decided that the newspaper would not be included in the campaign.
In repeated questions of MPs about “whether he had talks and contacts with Deputy Minister Stelios Petsas” regarding the distributions of the campaign, “if he received pressure”, “phone calls from Maximou” or interventions from the team of the contracting authority “the chairman and CEO The consultant answered stereotypically, categorically, that “no”: “Mr. Petsas’ role was only in the renewal of the contract” and the definition of the fee of 1%, we “accepted the contract signed by Mr. Petsas, examined it in the legal our office, I signed it and we returned it “.
Regarding the organization of the campaign, he testified that there were two groups that collaborated: one from Initiative Media and another from the contracting authority. The Initiative team proposed a well-documented media list. This was discussed with the team of the contracting authority, and after we got the approval we proceeded. The proposals were all from the company based on technical characteristics. This collaboration was done online every Saturday. There were also media outlets, mainly in the region, that as soon as they were informed about the campaign, they contacted either our company or the contracting authority. We also collect all these suggestions. If an instrument was included in our original design, we said ‘OK’ it is in the design. “If there was no medium, we would ask for the right ones (google analytics or releases or readability) to evaluate this data and, whether we chose it or discarded it,” said Mr. Galgos.
Regarding the selection criteria, he stated that there are two main axes worldwide and where they were applied. The first axis has quantitative criteria (viewership, audiences, releases, the infinitive indexes it has in the various target groups, the duplications, the interactivity, the followers the “likes” etc, etc.) and the second, concerned the so-called quality part (ie the so-called brand safety, the security of the brand, the security of the message, the environment).
All distributions, the witness testified, were made through mathematical models and algorithms – and there are no political criteria in them. The criteria are purely technocratic.
For the reasons of non-participation of the newspaper “DOCUMENTO” answered that based on the quality data, it could be included in our campaign. Its content, however, at that time, was in stark contrast to the messages the campaign wanted to send: “We stay home, we stay safe.” We could not, he said, go against the global principle of pan safety and what the communication strategy requires.
He characteristically mentioned the front pages of the newspaper: “From ‘Menoume Spiti’, to ‘Menoume Tapi'” and “Koronoios, koroidoios”, “mask mask”, while as he added, there were other relevant articles and articles in the newspaper. The exclusion of the newspaper due to its content said, “it was put by our company” in the joint group with the contracting authority “it was examined and it was decided not to include it”.
The same criterion, the incompatibility of the message with the content of the publication, said that it was what prevailed and no ads were given in other newspapers such as “ELEFTHERI ORA”, “MAKELIO” and “F&M Voice”.
Regarding the amount of the campaign given to the newspaper “Phileleftheros”, he replied that it was not 180,000 euros as it was said but 60,000 euros. The 180,000 euros relate to the total amounts given to the newspaper “Phileleftheros” and the site “Liberal.gr”. The criteria that were weighed, was that at that time it had an upward circulation, a large subscription base, had a loyal audience without double coverage and was old. In particular, he mentioned that “Liberal” delivered 20,000,000 impressions (pairs of eyes). “Capital” also had approximately equal million impressions, which also received equal money.
For the two sites of Menios Fourthiotis, he stated that when the order for the advertisement was given by the company, they were in operation and were selected based on Google analytics. However, during the monitoring of the execution, we found after a week that their content was not updated. Although he replied that “there were some technical problems”, we said that “this way the campaign can not be shown and will go down” as it happened and was not paid at all.
Regarding the participation of VERGINA TV, which hosted anti-vaccination programs, he replied that during the period of the “We Stay Home – We Stay Safe” campaign, no position of opposition of the channel had been recorded. The issue of vaccination had not yet been raised and we could not have known that he would take such a position, which is why in the next vaccination campaign – which was not done by Initiative Media – from what he knows he was not included.
About the platform Sizmek said it is an ad serving platform. It is not, neither of Turkish interests, nor has it gone bankrupt. It belongs to Amazon. And it is one of the two that exist in Greece and meet all the guarantees for monitoring programming on the internet and performance and measuring efficiency. If we did not have this platform, we would not be able to work.
He repeated many times that the campaign was effective, looking back, there might have been some corrections in its details, but in general as a strategic plan, as a strategic distribution, as a duration, as an intensity, it was right.
Comments from ND and SYRIZA
The assessments of the testimony of the president and managing director of Initiative Media Michalis Galgou from ND and SYRIZA were different.
Circles of ND members participating in the Inquiry Committee reported that “the shabby building erected by SYRIZA to support its proposal for the establishment of an Inquiry Committee for polls and the media collapsed. Michael Galgos, President and CEO of INITIATIVE MEDIA ADVERTISING SOCIETE ANONYME, clarified that the process for the ‘Stay Home’, ‘Stay Safe’ campaigns was absolutely crucial. which were observed in full “. They pointed out that “during his testimony, the witness stated that the proposals submitted were of the company, as he had both the know-how and the technocratic characteristics, so that the campaign would be effective in an unprecedentedly suffocating context”. They stated that “the operation to disorient the SYRIZA MPs fell into a vacuum, as the witness cited all the details of the process. He announced that a free evaluation campaign of 11 million euros was made and analyzed the criteria that were met (television viewing, audiences, releases, loyalty in combination with the commercial policies of the media). He clarified in all tones that the advertising company negotiated with the media and that there were exclusions by decision of the company for quality reasons. As he said, the company proposed based on specific technocratic criteria and approved by the contracting authority. The creation of impressions by the official opposition regarding the size of the campaign (20 million euros including VAT) did not find suitable ground, as according to the witness, the campaign in Austria cost 100 million euros and in Portugal 40 and 37 million. euro. Despite the anxious effort of the SYRIZA MPs to discover shadows, their allegations collapsed and their evidence was refuted. They were exposed to chasing ghosts and stubbornly closing their eyes to reality because it does not serve their petty games. ND continues to move in the common interest and with the compass of the truth. “Let the others stay submerged in the mud.”
The SYRIZA MPs, for their part, state in a statement: “The confession of the main witness of N.D. is a catapult for the government. to the Inquiry Committee. The head of the company Initiative Mich. Galgos, who distributed the money from the Petsa list to the media, admitted the big scandal! That without a public invitation, the list of media was chosen exclusively by the Presidency of the Government, ie by Mr. Petsas! “We proposed technocratically and the contracting authority (ie the Presidency of the Government) approved and decided”, said the witness who also testified that there is correspondence between the company Iniative and the government, material requested by SYRIZA-PS . from the beginning and has not yet been submitted.
The witness also revealed all the procedures of censorship and exclusion of the media that were not to the liking of the government “, the MPs of the official opposition note and conclude:” Today’s unpleasant for the N.D. meeting, fully confirms the complaints of SYRIZA-PS. which led to the establishment of the examination. Therefore, Maximou can no longer hide St. Skin ».
Summoning St. Skin
The issue of summoning the then competent Deputy Minister Stelios Petsas was raised again by the rapporteur of SYRIZA, Giannis Ragousis, after the testimony of the witness, but a request that was again rejected by the rapporteur of ND, Katerina Papakosta-Palioura.
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