Quartet is the only permanent common programme prepared and aired in all four public service TV stations of Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia since 2000. Currently it is broadcast in Polish television TVP3 local TV station, TVP Polonia, Czech television CT, Slovak television RTVS and in Hungarian television MTV2, Duna TV.
There are premiere TV magazines broadcast monthly with the total timing of 26 minutes. Each magazine deals with one main topic presented from the point of view of particular journalists from the four countries. Countries prepare their own language versions of the programme consisting of 4 shots - three from the partners and one own shot.
Quartet magazine has also a common jingle, graphic design and subtitles. The televisions prepare their own language versions. Quartet magazine was awarded The International Visegrad Prize in 2015 by the Visegrad Group ministries responsible for culture. It took only 4 months to make the first idea about a common V4 magazine happen and broadcast its premiere episode.
In autumn 1999 directors of regional TV studios of the public service televisions from Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary were invited by Marian Kleis, director of STV Kośice to meet up in Kośice. TV studio Kośice was the first one in Czechoslovakia to cooperate with the western televisions united in the CIRCOM REGIONAL association. They have been producing programmes called ALICE and later on The Wheel of life. Directors therefore wanted to use the gained knowledge and create a trans-border programme. Inevitable expert advice was provided by one of the five members of executive of CIRCOM REGIONAL Jaromir Bureś from Kośice. Then the directors general began to look for opportunities of cooperation within Visegrad Four countries. One of the very first creative suggestions was to produce a common TV Euro-magazine. The idea was developed by then a PR manager Jan Dianiśka who came up with a new programme called CARPATHIANS. Creators of the future trans-border magazine managed to organise another meeting in Szeged, Hungary in the same year. They discussed the content and a common title which was supposed to sound similar in all four languages - QUARTET.
The meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic was attended by newly appointed national coordinators Luba Kol'ova Slovakia, Piotr Socha Poland, Vladimir Stvrtna Czech Republic and Erika Kocsor Hungary. This time their task was to choose the best common jingle from 4 versions and then the premiere QUARTET magazine could start with the new millennium. All beginnings are difficult so we were preparing 8 topics for each episode until we realised that QUARTET should rather have one common topic from 4 points of view in. In past every regional TV studio - Kośice, Banska Bystrica, Cracow, Rzeszów, Brno, Ostrava, Miskolc and Szeged used to prepare one shot for each magazine. Those were the times when all texts and TV records had to be transcribed and transmitted on BTC and sent by regular mail to the partner countries monthly. Coordinators used to pick up the shipments at customs-house and officially inform the officers about their content. The whole process was very unreliable so after 2 years of stresses to meet the broadcast deadlines we finally changed the system. A 6 minutes long shot was prepared by one studio from each country monthly so we could get deeper into the topics. Magazine composition, translations, subtitles, dubbing, completion and broadcasting has always been realised by one regional TV studio from each country.
Besides all changes of the working procedures and used technologies there has only been one personal shift. After 10 years of cooperation Hungarian National coordinator from Szeged Erika Kocsor was replaced by Zsuzsa Sari. BTC video tapes were replaced by DVC technology and 4:3 aspect ratio has changed to 16:9. After 15 years the viewers could watch the QUARTET magazines in Full HD quality and find it later in web-archives of televisions. Internet has become the biggest help for translators who do not have to come to pick up the texts from the studios because now they have e-mails.
Since foundation of The International Visegrad Fund in 2000 the QUARTET coordinators has been applying for grants to finance their work meetings twice a year in different country. They have been successful eight times and also got financial support to organise festival of regional TV studios' production called Visegrad Seal four times. QUARTET does not try to solve political problems. On the other hand this programme educates, informs and tries to bring the four nations closer together. After 17 years of regular continuous broadcast it is a rare exception in this dynamic media space
Since the beginning of QUARTET magazine we have broadcasted almost 230 premiere episodes. Approximately 900 reports, profiles and documentaries attracted the attention of several million of viewers in the four neighbouring countries. Topics inspired by the lives of ordinary people, success, troubles and their solutions, economy, education, science, culture, history, ecology, sport or various natural places of interest, these are the universal and timeless topics with the particular European character. It is mostly its thematic potential that enables QUARTET project to become a successful TV programme broadcast also on a weekly basis.
When considering concept of a new common Visegrad Four Television directors general of the public service televisions of V4 countries take QUARTET project as the main programme and example that such cooperation is possible. Connecting forces and financial sources is the way for further production and preparation of common concerts and entertainment programmes.
Social networks and social media as such are also gaining importance not only among the young viewers therefore we are trying to keep up with the times. Viewers do not have to call us anymore if they missed some information from live programme because now everything can be found in online TV archives, on our website or facebook. Last but not least International Visegrad Fund and its support is the future perspective of QUARTET project. Especially thanks to the personal meetings of creators and producers we have been able to improve the content and production of QUARTET magazine, solve troubles and even save the programme sometimes. Considering other workload we would not have been able to visit so many interesting places and personally verify the attractiveness of these places for our viewers.
To sum up the relevance of this programme was confirmed by the award of the Visegrad prize given by the ministries responsible for culture of V4 countries. It was the first time when a TV programme of all four countries was awarded this prize.
SLOVAKIA: Luba Kol'ova, Natasa Lutterova, Jozef Puchala, Leopold Henzely, Viola Oceliakova, Zsuzsa Sarkozy, Ladislav Csiky POLAND: Piotr Socha, Katarzyna Kotula, Beata Padel, Maciej Dzwigaj CZECH REPUBLIC: Vladimir Stvrtna, Nora Obrtelova, Marta Ruzickova, Krunoslav Keteles HUNGARY: Sari Zsuzsa, Kiss Monika, Szel Zsolt, Szogi Laszlo, Kajtsa Zoltan, Nagy Istvan Four different languages sound to be in a perfect harmony in this programme and we believe in QUARTET'S long future