By Pooya Stone
On March 29, head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Abdulali Ali-Asgari unintentionally revealed that Tooska company controls all advertisements aired on the T.V.
In a session of the department for containing coronavirus, a member suggested that the IRIB makes several free advertisements inciting the people to online purchase. The member had said that according to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, citizens should stay at home; however, the IRIB should encourage them to provide their needs online through advertising programs.
Suddenly, Ali-Asgari accidentally admitted, “The advertising issues in the ‘national media’ allocated to the Tooska company. The IRIB should pay a forfeit if it broadcasted any type of commercial ads without the Tooska’s permission.”
What is Tooska that is able to take control of the IRIB's head?— Iran Focus (@Iran_Focus) April 2, 2020
Tooska, under Khamenei's heel, has monopolized all rights of advertisements broadcasted by #Iran propaganda apparatus according to the head of IRIB Abdulali Ali-Asgari during an anti-#coronavirus session on March 29. pic.twitter.com/fl9VUTmcCz
However, whose Tooska is it? How much does he earn through commercial ads? And most importantly, why does the IRIB’s head not to dare intervene in Tooska affairs regarding he is directly appointed by the supreme leader Ali Khamenei?
How Much Does the IRIB Earn Through Commercial Ads?
For finding the answer to this question, it is enough to take a look at several published figures in the government-linked websites:
- “An IRIB’s presenter had said that ‘For instance, Channel Three pay 45 million tomans [around $11,700] to a cinema star for a one-hour program. Simultaneously, [Channel Three’s] directors earn multifold from his/her presence,” the state-run IRNA news agency wrote on October 6, 2019.
- “Usually, the Channel Three live broadcasts matches of Esteghlal and Perspolis, two prominent Iranian soccer clubs. Therefore,] in all over the league, this channel totally gains around 33 billion tomans [more than $7.8 million] through airing commercial ads during the matches of this couple teams alone,” Donya-ye Eqtesad calculated on March 18.
- “Seventeen subtitled ads broadcasted in the Set 1 of the second match between Iran and the United States. [The IRIB] earned more than 550 million tomans [around $131,000],” Khabar Online published on July 3, 2015.
- “The tariff on broadcasting commercial ads before “Baradar Jan” T.V. serial and amidst it is between 5.296 to 6.163 million tomans per second… Every night, 1020 seconds of ads are broadcasted during this serial. Therefore, the IRIB nightly earns over 5.844 billion tomans through broadcasting commercial ads during Baradar Jan alone. In 30 parts of this serial that are aired by Channel Three in Ramadhan month, the IRIB earned more than 175.322 billion tomans [more than $41.743 million],” Khabar Online published on May 19, 2019.
- “The advertisement for a kind of yogurt drink... delivered a huge income for this organization. Sixty-two billion tomans revenue in compensation of an hour and 48 minutes of advertising… [The state-run] T.V. daily broadcasts 115 minutes commercial ads for a yogurt drink company in five channels. This time is longer than a soccer match or even a full movie. The IRIB earns 62.1 billion tomans based on nine million tomans per second. We’ll find 1.863 trillion tomans [$443.570 billion] if we multiply the daily income by 31 days,” Kandu News website estimated on July 13, 2019.
- Also, on May 18, 2019, the news analysis website “Rahbord-e Moaser” revealed the IRIB’s mind-blowing revenue in an article titled, “The IRIB’s two-trillion [tomans] revenue from advertising.”
- “According to the IRIB’s tariffs, this organization will gain more than 200 billion tomans no cost profit for broadcasting over ten part of a serial,” Salam-e No website wrote on March 28, 2020.
- “On average, the Channel Three allocates 60 minutes of its program to commercial ads, which means 3,600 seconds. Therefore, this channel would earn more than three billion tomans per day if we consider that it only earns one million tomans per second. This figure, of course, is related to Channel Three alone,” Cinemacinema news analysis agency wrote on July 22, 2019.
Nine years ago, on August 16, 2011, the state-run Tabnak website published that “The number of the IRIB’s channels has reached to 100.” Today this number is even higher.
It’s possible to estimate with ballpark figures the revenue of Tooska’s owner, who directs the IRIB’s advertising part behind the curtain. Indeed, the real owner of the IRIB is the Iranian supreme leader who controls this giant organization through his appointees.
Who Is the Tooska’s Owner?
With a careful glance, it is possible to find truth among posts of Iranian social media activists, the state-run websites, and researching centers’ publications. “Tooska company provides the cost of making 79 T.V. programs those have many fans,” Tabnak quoted the Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi as revealing on March 14, 2019.
Also, on March 13, 2019, another website Peyvast wrote, “On October 8, 2017, Tooska company was officially registered, and its most prominent produce is Rubika application.”
According to the registered announcement of this company, its shareholders include:
- Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, Hamrahe Aval on Persian
- Noor-e Dena investment company– belongs to Hamrahe Aval
- Naqsh-e Aval-e Keyfiat company belongs to Hamrahe Aval
Therefore, all 100 percent of Tooska company’s stocks belong to Hamrahe Aval. Notably, Tooska is only an excuse for influential parts of the government. Earlier, even before the official registration of the Tooska, this company won the auction of advertisement, according to the IRIB-owned newspaper Jam-e Jam in January 2016.
Details of the contract have never been announced; however, it’s said that the Tooska was supposed to deposit 1.2 billion tomans as a down payment in the IRIB’s account during a three-year period. Additionally, the revenue would be shared between Tooska and IRIB if the company earned more than the down payment. Another website, Jadval Yab news agency, also identified that the Tooska belongs to Hamrahe Aval as the greatest telecommunication company in the country.
Whose “Hamrahe Aval” is it?
On March 29, Khabar Online website answered this question in its own way. “Is the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO) the owner of the Rubika app and Tooska company?” Khabar Online asked. The website quoted IRNA news agency as reporting:
“Following the publication of news about the EIKO’s role in management and ownership of Tooska company and Rubika app, this organization announced that it has no possessing, managing role in the company and app and basically denied the news.” However, IRNA showed the magnitude of the EIKO’s influence in the decision-making of this super company in the same report. “Since the autumn of 2019, the EIKO declared its objection about monopolizing the digital trade and advertisement through its representative in the Hamrahe Aval’s managing board. The EIKO also demanded this company to pave the way for advertising other digital trades.”
This piece exposed that:
- First, the EIKO is one of the Hamrahe Aval’s managing board
- Second, EIKO is the most influential shareholder in this super company
Notably, in 2019, advocates of President Hassan Rouhani revealed the case of the Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) illegal ownership on many manufacturing and economic firms. Subsequently, the IRGC was compelled to assign parts of its stock in the Hamrahe Aval to whitewash its hands. However, it was exposed that the assignment was only an exchange between the IRGC’s different subsets like the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters and the IRGC front agents such as Mehrdad Bazrpash and his folk.
Bazrpash is one of the multi-jobs managers in Iran. Several of his jobs include director-general of the Tadbir group for developing industry and mines [one of the Tooska’s subsets], the head of young advisors to the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, director-general of Pars automobile manufacturing factory and later in Saipa company, member of the governing board for the ninth round of the Parliament (Majlis), member of the managing board of “Gostaresh Electronic Mobin” company, a shareholder in a number of domestic massager companies, and owner of Vatan-e Emruz newspaper.
Ali Khamenei is either directly or indirectly managing a multi-billion trade through advertising programs in the IRIB alone. He truly lines his pockets with a pure profit and stockpiles the national wealth in his own or relatives’ accounts secondly. In this respect, the governing system is the main obstacle toward the ordinary people in Iran benefitting from appropriate health and hygienic equipment.
Stop lying.— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) March 30, 2020
If the Iranian regime needs funds to deal with the #coronavirus, it can access billions in @khamenei_ir's tax-free hedge fund.
It's not the sanctions. It's the regime. pic.twitter.com/WZ1gipkV3A
The Iranian government exaggerates U.S. sanctions to earn cash while it refuses the humanitarian assistance offered by the United States and other members of the international community. In other words, the ayatollahs take hostage citizens’ health and lives to loosen or lift sanctions that have been implemented to persuade them to abandon adventurism and irresponsible policies. However, the ayatollahs’ tricks have been scandalous and even the Iranian people demand the world to keep pressures on the government and enforce it to recognize their rights.
As Iran’s society displayed during nationwide protests last November and January, the Islamic Republic’s regime has failed its credibility among the citizens, and they are ready to seize any opportunity against the entire government with its all factions and personnel.