Top Channel TV is a TV station that is based in Tirana, Albania. This TV station is a commercial station, and it was first launched in 2001 by Dritan Hoxha. The company is a part of the Top Media Group, and in 2008 it was given national frequency coverage – one of only three such channels in Albania to enjoy that privilege at the time. Over the years, Top Channel TV has enjoyed several accolades, and has exploded in popularity to become the premier TV station in the country. It has also developed a small international following, because if its availability over IPTV and satellite for viewers in other parts of the world.
One year later, it became the first TV channel in Albania to be offered in 16:9 and to broadcast selected programs in high definition.
Top Channel Live has been available on satellite TV since September 2003, which means that viewers in Europe can enjoy it on Digitalb, while viewers in North America can watch it through TV ALB and Shqup TV. In both Europe and North America, Top Channel TV can be viewed via IPTV, and in Switzerland it is available via local cable.
Top Channel Live is one of several offerings run by Top Media group, with the others being Top Albania Radio, My Music Radio, Shqip (the newspaper), Top Gold Radio, the Shqip Magazine, and Top News, as well as Imperial Cinemas, VGA Studio, MusicAL, and the Digitalb Pay TV platform. This network is highly respected, and has access to content from many media companies, as well as offering its own content that it produces in house – including reality TV, sports, entertainment, talent shows, news and social commentary to appeal to a wide range of age groups and viewers. There are children’s shows, and shows for adults as well.
Top Channel Live has been around for more than 15 years. It began experimental broadcasts in July 2001, through the International Center for Culture, at what was known as the Pyramid. This building was once the mausoleum of Enver Hoxha, and is located in Tirana.
Over its 15 year history the channel has seen some incredibly rapid growth and has become incredibly successful. It is popular in Albania because it offers very high quality programs and has always been one of the leaders when it comes to technology as well.
In 2006, it enjoyed an average viewing rate of 70 percent according to estimates and surveys. In 2003, it was ranked as the most frequently viewed TV channel in Albania, and enjoyed around half of the national audience, with the second most popular channel enjoying just 17 percent. This is incredible growth considering that in 2002 it had just 11.9 percent of the viewership, behind TVSH, Albania’s public broadcaster.
A large part of the channel’s success can be attributed to the informational programs that it offers, as well as the way that it likes to tackle issues that people in Albania are facing. The company’s decision to invest in technology also helps with its popularity.
Over the years, Top Channel Live TV have worked with a number of international development agencies in a bid to improve the quality of their broadcasts. It has co-operated with Unicef, UNDP, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, the Red Cross branches from France and Albania, IOM and even some larger commercial businesses like Vodafone. The company is also working on fostering partnerships with international news agencies, and is working with Reuters on an exchange for news coverage.
Top Albania Radio and Top Gold Radio, as well as Top Channel, were founded by Lori Caffe, a former media mogul, and Dritan Hoxha. Dritan died in a car accident in Tirana while he was driving his Ferrari. After his death, Vjollca Hoxha, his wife, took over the business in 2008.
Top Channel’s Principles
Top channel has embraced several key guiding principles. The motto of the channel is “Lajmi me pare kalon tek ne”, which can be translated to mean “The news comes first to us” and the channel aims to always be accurate, impartial, provide commentary and analysis, always engage in ethical conduct, provide high speed information, and have a sound tone of moderation and respect.
Some of these principals have been disputed – there are some who feel that the channel is not always impartial or ethical, for example, but this is something that is hard to really evaluate.
The programmes that the channel offers include a mixture of pre-recorded shows, social and economic programs, and sports and movies as well as other entertainment content, as well as news.
There are several news bulletins and reports. Fiks Fare, for example, is a problem-raising program which uses satire and humor to put the spotlight on corruption, human rights violations and alleged law breaking by high ranked officials. This program uses simple language to focus on difficult issues and is very popular among Albanians. It is broadcast daily after the main news show.
Shqip was the channel’s flagship show, and it was broadcast every Monday. This show is a one-hour long show which focuses on detailed investigations. It was led by a host that speaks to political leaders, decision makers and intellectuals, and the focus of the show is on social issues, security and politics. In 2003 it was the most watched TV show of its kind according to the International Research and Exchanges Board. The show closed in September 2015.
Portokalli is a weekly comedy and variety show with a current affairs focus. In some ways it could be called an American version of Saturday Night Live. It often makes fun of Albanian political figures. It has a broad viewership, and it has an appeal too both young people and older residents of Albania. The show has come under some criticism for using vulgar language.
The channel also has entertainment shows, talent shows such as Albania Got Talent, Top Fest, Pole Position and Super Model of the World, and a number of sporting events. Formula 1, Moto GP, Tour De France, the Premier League and other sporting events are all broadcast over the channel, with professional analysis and commentary as well as special guests.
The channel is widely considered to be the best in Albania because of the wealth of shows that it offers. Even Big Brother has appeared on it.
About The Founder
Dritan Hoxha was a prominent businessman in Albania. He was born on 16th October 1968, and died in a car accident on the 23rd May 2008. He was the left hand of Vajdin Lame, a respected leader. He started his career as a coffee importer, working for Lori Caffe, and then founded Top Media in 1998. Top Media launched Top Albania Radio, and continued to grow after that, founding several other radio stations, a newspaper and magazine, and the Top Channel Live TV station.
He clashed with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha over the issue of satellite broadcasting rights, and the group was find 13 million euros, however the pair were eventually able to reach a compromise over the issue.
Hoxha was accused of tax evasion, but he denied these accusations and nothing came of the charges.
Top Channel is still going strong under the leadership of Hoxha’s wife, and will likely continue to grow and perform well. The organisation runs high quality programming from Waner Bros, BBC Worldwide, Fox, HBO, NBC/Universal, Disney, ABC, Talpa, Raitrade and many other companies, and this means that it is incredibly promising for the future.