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Someone Looks at the City Advertising, Again

Last Saturday's Brno section in the Mladá Fronta Dnes newspaper featured a few articles on the videochat industry in Brno. NvB treated the subject a while back. Not much has changed, but some investigation has been done. Since these articles do not appear in English, I've quickly translated a few excerpts for you (sorry about the annotations, but I didn't feel like writing involved commentary):

Brno a Bastion of Erotic Internet Services (12 August 2006)
The erotic industry in Brno is thriving. Anyone who arrives in town by train can see that from the advertisements between the tram tracks in front of the main station. Signs there attract girls for videochat jobs. . . .
Brno is a leader in this industry. "There are 60 agencies here. For each, 20 or 30 girls are working, you can do the math," remarks the owner of one agency, meaning at least 1,200 girls that "love" foreigners live in the Moravian metropolis. The best make 4,000 crowns [about 180 USD at 22 CZK to the dollar] for 6 hours. Their agencies bring in tens of millions of crowns annually.
"Videochat is more widespread in Brno than anywhere else in the country. It began six years ago," he writes. . . . "Don't think it's easy. . . . May companies have been founded and many collapsed," the man writes about the wild business sector.
No one from the business wants to reveal their name. "There's pretty heavy competition. Studios don't reveal themselves better than the others," remarks one businessman, who fears someone might try to take revenge on him.

[This seems a bit odd. If thse are acceptable, above-board, transparent, and safely-run businesses, then why do they worry about anonymity? What sort of repercussions does this mean? Mob hits? Spies coming in to take their "secrets"? Something is very fishy about this. I suspect that, as specific companies are mentioned later on, it would not be so difficulty to ascertain some of their identities.]
A director of the Eurolive agency, who also requested anonymity, thinks that there are not 60 large companies in Brno. "Many would-be agencies exist that have one camera in an apartment somewhere. I know four big agencies," he adds. However, even he thinks that the industry fares better here than elsewhere in the land. "It's a professional exaggeration, but I'd say that every second girl is employed in it," he sums up jokingly. "We work together with 30 or 40 girls," he disclosed about his company. . . .

Company Advertising: Even at the Tran Station (12 August 2006)
. . . The ads don't say that it's necessary to take your clothes off. They only shrewdly allude to a job offer for which only girls older than 18 years are eligible.
The advertising, particularly its visibility, bothers some people. 21-year-old student Catherine, who rides the city transit and often transfers at the main station, is displeased that there are so many billboards and flyers. "It ends up looking like young girls in Brno have no other suitable option for making money than by doing videochat," she says.
"I can only say that these flyers offer work. Since we are a market company, it's necessary to accept even these ads," briefly responds Hana Pohanová, speaker of the City Transit Authority, to complaints. "I've never seen seen any flyers in our vehicles that were offending, shameful, or anything like that. We monitor that," she adds. . . .
The ads don't please feminist activist Klára Kubíčková either. "If these ads stated their purpose completely openly, that they're concerned with a certain form of prostitution, then I would have no problem with their existence," she says. "The problem is that these ads attract young students on the basis of inexact and misleading information. For good looks they promise a big salary, but they don't inform them what risks are connected with this sort of work," she adds. "From women who worked at videochat companies, I know that it's a psychologically demanding job," and she continues that models sometimes have to take rough clients. "I would never censure the work of prostitutes. But women who decide to do it must have clear entry information and must know exactly what they're getting into and should expect. In the case the of the videochat ads, there is no information about this," Kubíčková clarifies her opinion.

Paradoxically, even Jiří Morávek, director of the company Snip&Co, which installed the videochat ads in front of the station, is not too enthused about them. "We've gone through it many times. The ads are not in conflict with any rules or regulations, even the advertising council of the city's business office has looked into it. Unfortunately there is no legal apparatus to stop it," he says. According to Morávek, Snip&Co can't refuse to place ads for the agencies. "They could say that we're not using our dominant position in the field," he explains.

[I don't understand what a market economy has to do with it. There are plenty of people who will pay for advertising, even in Brno. One only has to look at the outside and inside of the city trams and buses: malls, movies, performers, grocery stores, hotels. Everybody is advertising these days. If this is really a public company, why could they not be more selective? A "market" implies to me that they respond to the demand. Well, there seems no shortage of demand. Though perhaps I've mistranslated a more technical Czech term.]

None of this will come as a surprise if you've seen my earlier posts (links below). What does surprise me is that it took so long for this to attract attention. This time of year, which is officially "vacation," is often called the okurková sezóna ("pickle season"), which means there isn't much news of merit to print. I suspect that has something to do with why they ran this, but I'm still surprised.

Coda: After all, they must have cared somewhat, even though another recent article was about the new handholds for shorter riders (and the advertising they carry). Of course, the main story there seemed to be that these would hit the heads of taller riders. Um, hello: perspective, empathy, come on, let's get some! "Not our problem," tall Czechs would answer, "they have to find something else to hold."

Previously at NvB: Part- and Full-time Shifts Available, A Function of Impoverishment?
The complete Czech versions of the articles are gathered here.
"The New Czech Export: Virtual Erotica [Nový český export: virtuální erotika]," a Czech-language article by Jan Sůra at iDnes from 1 September 2005.

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Blogger P'tit-Loup said . . .

How appropriate! Today I attempted to catch up on your posts from work only to find out that the "censure" device that my agency uses did not let me access your blog, no doubt because of the term "Nuda" which was originally in your blog tittle. Then your blog today is on erotica and phone sex merchandizing. Somehow it gave me a chuckle. I did not realize that Brno was famous for its phone sex market. Who would have know that the industrial town had such an open attitude about that market. Later, I will attempt the czech version of the article. Just for practice.    

5:52 AM, August 15, 2006

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