What does the future hold for TVN, the Polish national commercial broadcaster owned by Scripps Networks Interactive?
Earlier this week it was announced that Markus Tellenbach would be leaving the company after nearly seven years as its head. During that time, he has overseen huge changes, the two most important of which were the arguably merger of the DTH platform n with Cyfra+ and take-over of TVN by Scripps.
The latter, completed in 2015, was undoubtedly needed to ensure TVN stayed an important player in what is an increasingly competitive Polish market. In that market, Cyfrowy Polsat seemingly goes from strength to strength. Arguably, it also sets the agenda in many areas.
At the same time, the public broadcaster TVP, despite its well-reported problems, continues to make progress on a broad range of fronts. The number of thematic channels it already operates would be the envy of many a commercial broadcaster. Furthermore, it is, along with its counterpart CT in the Czech Republic, one of the region’s pioneers in HbbTV and – as has been reported only this week – may be preparing to launch an Ultra HD channel.
There is a broad consensus of opinion among Polish industry experts that Jim Samples, TVN’s new president, will bring the broadcaster closer to Scripps in order to make the most of the synergies between the two companies. New channels could certainly be on the agenda, as could a greater online presence.
What is becoming increasingly clear is that Scripps now sees TVN as one of its key assets outside the US. It will be interesting to how its strategy develops and if it in due course makes more acquisitions, especially of large and already well-established broadcasters, in Central and Eastern Europe.