Chris Dziadul looks at major changes in Ukraine
Earlier this month the US investment company CME pledged its commitment to what it regards as a country with enormous potential, and now Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG) has announced the introduction of its proprietary premium DTH platform. All of a sudden, Ukraine seems to be finding itself the focus of attention of the region’s TV industry.
Quite why it has taken so long for this to happen is probably anyone’s guess. The second most populous nation in CEE, it should arguably have been on most peoples’ radar screens much sooner but was largely overshadowed by such neighbouring markets as Russia, Poland and even Romania.
Reliable statistics on the Ukrainian market are not easy to come by. However, in July the EEBC, the organiser of an annual telecom/broadcasting conference in the capital, Kiev, said the country could have 850,000 DTH subscribers within the next three years and up to 2.5 million by 2012.
Although Ukraine has until recently been left on the sidelines in the DTH sector, it will soon be served by no fewer than three platforms. Two – operated by Poverkhnost and DataGroup – are already up and running, and the third, Viasat Ukraine (Vision TV), will make its debut shortly.
The EEBC added that digital cable services have been introduced in five Ukrainian cities, including Kiev and Odessa, though did not provide subscriber numbers. It also said that four of the country’s leading telcos – Ukrtelecom, Golden Telecom, Comstar and Telesystems – have started IPTV trails and that DTT tests are under way. In the latter instance, they are likely to be followed by a licensing process and commercial platform launch next year, with analogue switch off expected in 2015.
Ukraine is a country on the move but still has some catching to do in the digital TV sector. Its three DTH platforms and the progress they make in the months to come will certainly be worth keeping an eye on.