When it comes to satellite platforms, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is today as well if not better served than most other parts of the world, with at least 40 in operation.
Yet while some of these platforms are undoubted success stories – Russia’s Tricolor and Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat, for instance, have the most subscribers, with a combined total of around 8 million between them – others stand out for other, perhaps for less obvious reasons.
One is Poland’s n, which made its debut in October 2006 and radically transformed the whole market, not just in Poland but the region as a whole.
Not only was it the first DTH operation in the region to offer HD channels – Russia’s NTV-Plus became the second, some six months later – but it also introduced a range of new generation services including VOD and PVR.
The n news conference held in Warsaw earlier this week arguably showed just how far the platform has come in the past three years. It is still arguably one of the main pacesetters in the CEE region, clearly demonstrated by the fact that it will be offering no fewer than 14 HD channels as of next week.
It will also been introducing a new receiver that provides, amongst other things, access to such services as multiroom and Poland’s new DTT platform, which is due to make its debut later this month.
Yet perhaps the most eye-catching thing about n to date has been its impressive take-up. A high-end service from the onset, it entered a market in 2006 already served by the successful operations Cyfrowy Polsat and Cyfra+ and yet somehow managed to carve out a niche for itself. So much so, in fact, that it already has around 600,000 subscribers and, if present trends continue, could attain up to a million by 2011.
While its continued success is by no means guaranteed, n looks set to remain a key player in the Polish digital TV marketplace for a long time to come.