Can the Polish TV market, highly dynamic though it is, really support six DTH platforms?
While no one knows the answer, it now looks certain that the country will shortly – perhaps by the end of this year – see the launch of a service operated by the national public broadcaster TVP.
Talk of such a platform first surfaced around 3-4 years ago, when the market was served by only Cyfrowy Polsat and Cyfra+. Since then three further operations – the new generation n, pre-pay TNK and TPSA’s Orange – have all made their debuts.
All these platforms are successful in their own way, making Poland the second largest DTH market in CEE after Russia. Indeed, were it not for the recent spectacular growth of the latter’s Tricolor TV, Poland would now have significantly more DTH homes than any other country in the region.
Earlier this week saw TVP’s head Piotr Farfal reveal in a newspaper interview that, despite all the controversy that continues to dog the broadcaster, those plans to launch a DTH platform are still very much alive. Indeed, the intention is to establish one, essentially based on the UK’s Freesat, before the end of this year.
Since the interview, Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure has finally published a complete strategic plan for the transition to digital broadcasting. It in, the case for a Freesat-style platform operated by TVP is made quite clearly.
Although TVP will initially share capacity on the country’s first DTT multiplex, due to make its debut this September, the plan is to eventually move all of the broadcaster’s services onto a single multiplex. The view is that a DTH platform operated by TVP would be able to cover parts of the country its DTT signals are unable to reach.
It would also allow TVP to develop its offer, introducing thematic and premium channels, along with more competition to the DTH market.
However, the fact of the matter is that with five satellite platforms already up and running, there is even today more than enough competition in the Polish DTH sector.
As in most other DTH markets in the region, some degree of consolidation looks almost inevitable.