Broadcasters across Central and Eastern Europe see this summer’s major sporting events as a golden opportunity to revamp their offers and in the process secure more viewers.
Take Poland, which is co-hosting Euro 2012 with Ukraine. Its public broadcaster TVP has launched HD versions of its two main channels ahead of the tournament, which kicks off in Warsaw this Friday (June 8). It has also made the country’s first foray into HbbTV, launching an application for its flagship TVP1, distributed by the third DTT multiplex (MUX 3).
The DTH platform n has meanwhile announced that it will offer the most comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games in the Polish market. It shares the rights to this year’s Games with TVP and Eurosport and expects to offer its viewers over 100 hours of content in HD and 3D.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, the country’s leading cable operator Volia has announced that it plans to increase the number of sports channels it offers its subscribers by 20% this year. Its focus for coverage of Euro 2012 is a HD version of the channel Futbol, which is operated by Media Group Ukraine and for which it has secured exclusive cable rights. Futbol HD is also being carried by the DTH platform Viasat Ukraine.
Elsewhere, the Czech public broadcaster Ceske Televize has launched an HbbTV application for Euro 2012, as well as one for the World Ice Hockey Championship. In Romania, the incumbent telco Romtelecom has completely redesigned its proprietary channel Dolce Sport and made it available free of charge between June 1 and July 1 to all its subscribers, irrespective of the package they already receive.
The importance of football rights in general, rather than those for Euro 2012, has also been highlighted by recent developments in Hungary and Russia. In the former, Chello Central Europe and the public broadcaster Magyar Televizio (MTV) have just secured those to Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) matches for the next four seasons, while in the latter the state broadcaster VGTRK and DTH platform NTV-Plus are still locked in a bidding war for the Russian Premier League rights for the next three seasons.