It looks quite likely that the Polish public broadcaster TVP will launch what will be the country’s sixth DTH platform later this month.
That will in itself be something of an achievement, given the problems TVP is experiencing. No stranger to controversy of a political nature, it currently finds its president Piotr Farfal at loggerheads with his counterpart at the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT). What is more, Farfal has just called off a meeting of TVP’s Supervisory Board later this month that could have led to his dismissal.
Although Farfal’s position is undoubtedly precarious, he seems intent on at least getting the DTH platform up and running before vacating his post.
Yet the almost inevitable questions arise. Is there room for such a service in a market already served by five DTH operations with a combined total of nearly 5 million subscribers? What can it offer that others don’t? And, perhaps most importantly, is it affordable for TVP, given its growing financial problems?
Firstly, it has to be said that such a platform is anything but a new idea. Broadband TV News was first made aware of plans to launch a service around four years ago, when the only other players in the DTH marketplace were Cyfrowy Polsat and Cyfra+.
These plans then gathered momentum when TVP began talking with SES-Astra, though differences between the two parties subsequently emerged.
However, it was Farfal who then brought the project back in the spotlight this July, when he not only provided details about the programming it would carry (both free and paid-for), the cost of reception for individual viewers (a one off fee of around PLN300 – €72.5 for a dish and decoder) and start up costs (around €1 million but also said the platform would make its debut before the end of the year.
Now, it seems, the ‘free’ element of the DTH platform could be up and running within a matter of days. Whether it succeeds or not in such a competitive environment is nevertheless anyone’s guess.