Happy days are here again for Liberty Global and CME, two of the longest established players in Central and Eastern Europe’s TV industry.
Or so it seems, given their latest set of results for the last quarter and 2007. For Liberty Global’s UPC Broadband operation, things are finally coming good in all its markets, with the notable exception of Romania.
In the cable sector, the migration to digital, where services are already available, is going as well if not better than expected.
In the Czech Republic, for instance, the projected 100,000 year-end subscriber figure was exceeded by almost a third. And where digital services have still to be launched – specifically Poland and Hungary – analogue subscriber losses appear to have finally been stemmed.
There is certainly a problem in Romania that cannot be explained by intense competition alone. It remains to be seen how Liberty Global goes about solving it, especially as most of its efforts this year will be focussed on the rollout of digital cable services in Poland and Hungary.
Liberty Global can also breathe a huge sigh of relief over its DTH results. All the company’s operations finally appear to have weathered the storm that followed Digi TV’s entry in the marketplace.
CME has meanwhile certainly had its fair share of ups and downs in a 14-year involvement in Central and Eastern Europe – many, it has to be said, in the Czech Republic. Although the country remains at the heart of its regional operations, Romania is becoming increasingly prominent and Ukraine looks set to follow.
CME’s strategy in recent times has been to supplement its core national TV stations with proprietary thematic channels, and this is likely to continue as the region as a whole moves from analogue to digital broadcasting. It remains to be seen if the company maintains its focus on building up existing operations or starts to look for new acquisitions.