Company results come like London buses: you wait ages for one and then several arrive at the same time.
The ones affecting the CEE region that were published earlier this week were really nothing to write home about in the financial sense. While some companies admittedly reported increased profits – 14% in Q1 in the case of the Polish DTH platform Cyfrowy Polsat – most posted disappointing figures.
Russia’s CTC Media, for instance, saw its revenues fall by 23.4% year-on-year in the first quarter, while Poland’s TVN posted a loss of PLN29 million (€6.49 million), as opposed to a profit of PLN63.4 million 12 months earlier. Romania’s Romtelecom, which operates the DTH platform Dolce, meanwhile saw its revenues fall by 8.1% year-on-year in the first quarter.
The upside is that, even in these difficult economic times, most companies are still enjoying a good deal of success. TVN, for instance, is seeing strong growth in subscriber numbers for its DTH platforms n and TNK in what is already a highly competitive marketplace.
Romtelecom’s Dolce, too, is going from strength to strength, with its subscriber total rising to 750,000 in the year to March 31. By year’s end, it may well overtake Digi TV to become the leading DTH operation in Romania.
In the cable sector, the disappointing financial results reported by Liberty Global earlier this month were to some degree offset by the strong take-up of its digital cable services in CEE. As of the end of March, they were already being received in just over 760,000 homes, and there is a good chance that the figure will rise to a million by the end of the second quarter.
We are certainly not out of the woods as far the financial crisis is concerned, and the recovery, when it eventually becomes, will probably be a slow process in much of the region. There is nevertheless still much to be cheerful about in the industry, even in these difficult times.