2018 has been a year of interesting developments in HbbTV in Central and Eastern Europe.
Many, though by no means all, have taken place in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Just this week we saw the Czech ad tech company R2B2 launch content targeting on HbbTV in Slovakia, having already offered this in the Czech Republic for nearly a year. At the same time, it introduced a type of programmatic advertising that allows the targeting of viewers by TV brand and model. Significantly, the DTH platform Skylink has already become the first company to adopt it in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
HbbTV is now well established in both countries. Research undertaken by the Czech national commercial broadcaster FTV Prima and published last month shows that there are 1.06 million receivers in the Czech Republic connected to HbbTV, or double the number a year ago. What is more, over 2 million viewers now use HbbTV.
Cooperation between leading industry players is undoubtedly a big plus point in the Czech market. Already this year we have seen TV Nova start to work with the national transmission company CRa and FTV Prima with O2.
With the transition to DVB-T2 also under way, HbbTV’s future in the country looks promising.
In Slovakia, the country’s leading broadcaster Markiza began using commercial HbbTV at the end of last year, while publicly owned RTVS introduced a service this May. Meanwhile, the national transmission company Towercom has launched an HbbTV service on DVB-T2 in partnership with TV Joj.
Elsewhere in the region, we have seen progress in Croatia, where in 2017 the broadcaster TV Nova launched an HbbTV app in cooperation with the Czech company Mautilus. This year we have seen Skyworth Digital begin the production of HbbTV STBs, using SERPAHIC’s browser, aimed specifically at the Croatian market.
In Hungary, the MinDigTV platform operated by Antenna Hungária has launched HbbTV interactive advertising platform, in partnership with TV2Media and (now Beenius-owned) Castoola, while in the Estonia Levira has enhanced its HbbTV service HybridTV.
This is only the tip of the iceberg and there have almost certainly been many more developments in the HbbTV sector in CEE this year. It is clearly a positive picture and bodes well for the future.