The long-running Polish DTT saga is not officially over but certainly in its latter stages.
Earlier this week saw the public broadcaster TVP launch what is the country’s third multiplex. Offering viewers five proprietary SD channels – the flagship TVP1, TVP2 and TVP Info, along with thematic TVP Kultura and TVP Historia – it is initially being made available to 58% of the population, or over 7 million people, of four of the country’s voivodships. Its rollout will be undertaken in a total of four stages, at the end of which, in April 2014, coverage will have been extended to 98% of the entire population.
The third multiplex has been allocated solely to TVP and will house more thematic channels, including the soon-to-be-launched TVP Seriale, and perhaps also HD and regional services. However, the real question marks are over the first multiplex, which unlike its name might suggest is not yet fully up and running.
Indeed, it is only carrying TVP’s main channels – the broadcaster has signalled its desire to remain on the multiplex until after the end of July 2013 ASO target date in order to ensure maximum coverage for its services – with the other slots effectively up for grabs.
Interest in securing one of these slots is high, as was revealed at last week’s Polish Chamber of Electronic Communications (PIKE) conference in Sopot, with several parties, including 4Fun Media, TV Puls, TV Trwam and PIKE itself, having already gone public. However, the actual selection process may take some time.
The second multiplex meanwhile made its debut late last month. It has been allocated to Poland’s four main commercial channels – Polsat, TVP, TV4 and TV Puls – with each being allowed to also distribute a second channel. These new channels are expected to be Polsat Sport News, TVN Siedem, TV6 and Puls 2, with the multiplex achieving national coverage next year.
Yet even as the Polish DTT landscape finally takes shape, questions still remain. One of the most interesting ones is who, if anyone, will subsidise the MPEG-4 receivers required to watch the service.