It’s been an unusually busy Christmas holiday period for Central and Eastern Europe’s TV industry.
Perhaps the most important news, reported on New Year’s Eve, was that Romania’s RCS&RDS had finally reached an agreement with Discovery Communications a full four years after a major fall-out between the two parties. As a result, its subscribers can now receive such services as Discovery Channel, TLC, E! Entertainment HD, HBO2 HD and Cinemax2.
A couple of days earlier, the Ukrainian station 1+1 published an open letter to – amongst others – the country’s president pleading for help. Besides fearing a decision by the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting to reissue it with a licence would be cancelled, it raised concerns about a potential hostile takeover.
Although the regulator insisted it had no plans to withdraw the licence, one feels that we have not heard the last of this story.
On a more positive note, the New Year has got off to a flying start, at least in terms of new channel launches, in both Poland and the Czech Republic. Cyfrowy Polsat gave a debut to Super Polsat, though the channel’s favourable position in the EPG led the national commercial broadcaster TV Puls to accuse the DTH platform operator of uncompetitive behaviour and abusing its dominant market position.
Meanwhile, the Scripps lifestyle channel HGTV (Home & Garden TV), operated by TVN, is set to make its debut in Poland on January 7.
In the Czech Republic, we have already seen the launch of Barrandov Family, previously known as Barrandov Muzika. Later this month, Prima Plus will be added to FTV Prima’s portfolio, and in early February TV Nova, on its 23rd anniversary, will rebrand three thematic channels.
Arguably the most surprising news, which we reported this week, concerned the findings of a B2B study in Poland undertaken by ScreenLovers. Interviews with leading TV channel executives concluded that 2017 would be a tough year for the county’s pay-TV industry, with DTT, boosted by the recent launch of new channels on the country’s eighth multiplex, becoming increasingly popular.