SES Astra has secured Central European Media Enterprises (CME) as the anchor customer for its 31.5 degrees East orbital slot in Romania and Bulgaria. CME has a presence in six Central and East European countries, its TV interests including Pro TV, Pro TV International, Acasa, Pro Cinema, Sport.ro and MTV Romania in Romania and bTV, bTV Cinema, bTV Comedy, Pro.bg and Ring.bg in Bulgaria. It will use the transponder secured at 31.5 degrees East on a long-term basis to distribute its services to cable head ends in the two countries, starting in January 2011.
31.5 degrees East is SES Astra’s new orbital position for Central Europe and the Middle East, complementing the 23.5 degrees East slot. Romania is home to no fewer than five DTH platforms (Digi TV, Dolce, Focus Sat, Boom TV and AKTA), while Bulgaria is served by three (Bulsatcom, Total TV and the recently launch Vivacom TV). Of these, only one (AKTA, distributed by Sirius at 4.8 degrees East) employs the services of SES Astra.
However, the company already has a strong presence in Romania, with all cable operators receiving signals from the Sirius 4 satellite.
Earlier this year, SES Sirius also expressed an interest in participating in the digitization process in Romania by offering an alternative to terrestrial distribution platforms.