Ukraine’s National Council has changed the licences of the channels STB and ICTV, both of which are owned by the company StarLightMedia.
According to Detector Media and Satkurier, they are no longer allowed to distribute their signals FTA via satellite and have to encode them.
They add that the move was made quickly and without any explanation.
It also ran counter to the position held by the regulator as recently as last month, expressed by its president Yuiy Artemenko. He said that he did not support plans by the largest media groups in Ukraine to encode their signals in 2018 and wanted to conduct a professional discussion into the matter.
However, no such discussion has since taken place.
Significantly, encoding is at the heart of negotiations between media groups with cable operators about price increases for content.
Providers have paid royalties for retransmitting services since 2017, and as of last year those prices were increased.
In response, providers are demanding channels are encoded and their analogue terrestrial distribution ended.