The Czech Republic remains by far and away the biggest proponent of HbbTV in Central and Eastern Europe.
Up until a couple of years ago, it could have been argued that the same also applied to Poland, with the public broadcasters in both countries having led the way in the introduction of hybrid services. However, the big difference since then has been the willingness of TV stations across the board in the Czech Republic to launch HbbTV, while in Poland this has unfortunately not been the case.
Indeed, as we reported only last month in Broadband TV News, the Czech Republic is now looking even further ahead, to the introduction of the HbbTV 2.0 standard. This will include such features as time synchcronisation, which will allow for an interactive relationship between advertisers and viewers, as well multiscreen.
In an announcement about 2.0, the transmission company CRa also said that there were already over one million HbbTV connected TV sets in the country, with the number set to rise to 2.44 million by 2020.
Meanwhile, the pioneering nature of the Czech Republic in the deployment of HbbTV was underlined only earlier this month when it was announced that the incumbent telco O2 was preparing one of Europe’s first applications with SMS payments. Produced in partnership with the local company Mautilus, it will give users to access to O2’s premium sports content and VOD library.
In another important development, the Prague-based companies Hybrid and R2B2 teamed up last December to cooperate exclusively on programmatic advertising in HbbTV hybrid broadcasts.
All this has come alongside almost all broadcasters in the country now having introduced HbbTV services. Nova, Barrandov and Slagr TV joined a growing list late last year that already included CT, Prima and Mafra, the operator of the Ocko channels.
While HbbTV is certainly being adopted throughout the region, its progress in the Czech Republic is little short of eye-catching.