Why has the leading commercial broadcaster in Central and Eastern Europe decided to launch two international channels in 2016?
The move would be hard to explain were it not for the fact that the broadcaster in question is CME and the channels will be operated by its Czech and Slovak stations, TV Nova and TV Markiza respectively.
In an interview with Hospodarske noviny dated November 26, Matthias Settele, the general director of Markiza, hinted at what was to come when he said that although Nova has been available in Slovakia for a very long time, the way it is distributed is not in accordance with the law.
“Therefore, from both a business and legal perspective it is important that the situation is solved, and that is what both the television stations – Nova and Markíza – want to do in both markets”.
However, as Digizone points out, the real gain for CME will be that it will be able to further monetise content that is already available in the two markets. It will also ensure a rationalisation, or evening out, of sorts.
This is certainly needed, as the illegal distribution of Nova and Markiza distorts audience share figure and undermines advertising campaigns.
There is also a high likelihood that the two new channels, named Nova International and Markiza International, will find their way into the programme line-ups of cable and DTH platforms in both countries.
Although the Czech and Slovak markets have been distinct since the former Czechoslovakia split in 1993, they share many characteristics.
Language is one, despite some divergence in the last two decades. I’ve been told that among younger people Slovaks find it easier to under the Czech language than vice versa, while older people generally do not experience this.
In the TV space, we have, of course, services such as M7’s Skylink, which operates the leading DTH platform in both countries.
Liberty Global’s UPC is meanwhile the leading cable operator, and of course CME owns both Nova and Markiza.
CME’s decision to launch the two international channels is in many ways an acknowledgement of the many links that exist between the two country’s TV industries. It is a shrewd one and will I’m sure pay off.