Are the DTH markets in the Czech Republic and Slovakia becoming saturated?
It’s probably a reasonable question to ask, given the demise of Flix TV. Launched in the Czech Republic in March 2016 and extended to Slovakia later in the year, its main strengths were arguably its relatively cheap price, large selection of HD services and the inclusion of viewer-selected channels.
However, take-up was disappointing, believed to be between 5,000-10,000 subscribers, and the owners have decided to pull the plug on the service. It will officially cease operations in mid-November, with customers being switched to other platforms free of charge.
Only earlier this month, Panaccess re-launched its B2B DTH platform Pantelio, working in partnership with Hispasat and specifically targeting the Czech and Slovak markets. It has already secured its first client, a company that uses the brand name Magnet TV, and others are sure to follow.
Factor in other recently launched DTH services, such as Orange TV in Slovakia, and add them to established ones, which include Skylink, Digi TV and Magio Sat (Slovakia), freeSAT and Antik, and the DTH market in both countries does indeed look increasingly saturated.
It should nevertheless be borne in mind that while the Czech and Slovak markets are closely linked both culturally and linguistically – hence the number of shared platforms – they also have their differences. The most fundamental one is arguably the level of pay-TV penetration, which is still relatively low (just over 40%) in the Czech Republic but up to 95% in Slovakia. Furthermore, FTA terrestrial TV remains the main way of viewing TV in the Czech Republic, while in Slovakia it is not significant.
Given the growing number of IPTV services in the two countries, with one (the Czech Republic’s Kuki TV) also launching in Slovakia only this week, market saturation arguably extends beyond DTH.
It will be interesting to see how things develop in the next year or two. There will almost certainly be more launches, but also probably some degree of consolidation and even platform closures.