If you thought the DTH market in Central and Eastern Europe was starting to consolidate – think again.
Earlier this week I found myself attending the annual Hungarian cable conference in the Lake Balaton resort of Tihany. Although there was a lot to report on, it was to a large degree overshadowed by developments elsewhere, and in particular neighbouring Ukraine and Slovakia.
In the former, Modern Times Group (MTG) announced that it had launched what was effectively its second DTH platform in the country. Known as UA.TV, the new service operates on a monthly pre-paid basis, offering a basic package for around €3.70 and two larger packages for higher fees.
MTG has operated a platform named Viasat Ukraine in the country since 2008 and local sources – the company itself does not publish figures for individual markets in its Emerging Markets portfolio – say that it now has around 150,000 subscribers.
However, Viasat Ukraine is an expensive product and UA.TV is designed to complement rather than compete with it by targeting the lower end of the market.
Despite the presence of another DTH platform in the country – Xtra TV, with an estimated 100,000 subscribers – as well as a cable market in which Volia is the leading player, pay-TV penetration is still a relatively low 19.5% of households.
What is more, the addressable market for DTH is a surprisingly high 15.4 million non-cable households. Clearly there’s a large potential market out there for UA.TV.
Meanwhile in Slovakia, which already has a crowded DTH sector, Orange Slovensko has made its TV service more widely available by launching a DTH platform named SatTV Extra, in cooperation with Skylink, one of those platforms.
Orange’s sister company in Poland made a similar move a while back and it paid off handsomely, with its TV subscriber base growing significantly in what is also a highly competitive DTH marketplace.
While the general trend in the DTH sector is undoubtedly one of consolidation, new platform launches – as the evidence of these last few days so clearly proves – can still be expected.