Slowly but surely, Ukraine is starting to shed its forgotten man image in Central and East European broadcasting.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the DTH sector, where the country has made huge strides in the last two years with the launch of no fewer than three new platforms. The first, Viasat Ukraine, made its debut in April 2008 and has since made steady progress. Although its operator MTG does not publish subscriber figures for the platform – they are included with those of its Baltic operation – it stated at its Capital Markets Day last month that they are already higher than those of NTV-Plus.
Although the latter, Russian-owned service has been present in Ukraine for a decade, it only launched there officially in 2006 with its local partner New Television Technologies. No subscriber figures for the service are available.
The second DTH platform to launch in Ukraine in the last two years was Poverkhnost Plus. Part of the Poverkhnost group of companies, itself backed by Istil, a company specialising in the media and construction industries, it made its in June 2008 and its subscriber total is also not known.
MYtv is meanwhile an Israeli-backed company that began operating in Ukraine in 2008. Its satellite platform launched in Thor 6 at one degree West at the beginning of this year and has since added significantly to its channel offer and introduced a range of new generation receivers.
All three new platforms, though still at an early stage of development, are already having an impact on the marketplace. Although cable is already well established in Ukraine, with Volia the clear market leader, there is certainly significant growth potential for both it and indeed the DTH platforms.
Their prospects are being boosted by a recovery in Ukraine’s economy. Hard hit by the global downturn, it has only this week been forecast to grow by 4.2% in 2010 and for inflation to fall to a level below 10%.