Chris Dziadul foresees an eventful year in Polish cable
While it may be too early to start making predictions for next year, 2008 already promises to be something of a humdinger for Poland’s cable industry.
This week’s announcement from UPC that it will roll out a digital cable service in the country in Q2 is particularly significant, given the extent to which the Liberty Global-backed company has fallen behind its rivals in several markets in the last two to three years.
Poland is a good case in point, with its three main rivals – Multimedia Polska, Vectra and the Aster Group – all having already launched digital services. Multimedia Polska has also in recent weeks steamed ahead by introducing HD and VOD, and the others will in due course follow.
Given this state of affairs, not to mention the competition Poland’s cable industry already faces from a DTH sector serving almost 3 million households, UPC will have to hit the ground running with its new digital cable service. Its launch will nevertheless provide the marketplace with a much-needed boost and lead to even more innovation in the near future.
Elsewhere in the region, UPC is making steady progress with its digital cable service in the Czech Republic and could have up to 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year. It also has a limited number of digital subscribers in Romania and Slovenia – largely the legacy of acquisitions – while its digital cable operation in Slovakia is in its infancy. In Hungary, on the other hand, digital services have yet to make their debut on UPC’s networks.
More details of UPC’s plans for Poland, and the region as a whole, may well emerge at next week’s PIKE conference and exhibition in Zakopane. What we can almost certainly expect next year, however, is a big push by the company to make up lost ground.