To say it’s been an extraordinary fourth quarter in Serbia’s TV industry is something of an understatement.
It began with the news that Telekom Srbija had signalled its intention to expand outside the country by agreeing to buy Blicnet, one of the leading cable operators in neighbouring Bosnia & Herzegovina, from Telekom Slovenije.
It was also reported at the time that the incumbent was targeting its counterpart in Albania, currently owned by Deutsche Telekom. However, nothing has as yet materialised, which is perhaps not surprising, given the political sensitivities of such a deal.
Meanwhile, on the service side we learned that Serbia Broadband (SBB) had launched the country’s first 4K channel, operated by Sport Klub, at the end of October.
In terms of headlines, November was given over almost entirely to Telekom Srbija as its expansion strategy clicked into gear. There were undoubtedly two highlights in the month, namely its acquisition of Kopernikus Technology, the country’s second largest cable operator, from Kopernikus Corporation and Abris Capital Partners, and the announcement that the telco would simultaneously launch a DTH platform in three markets – Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro – in partnership with SES, most probably by the end of the year.
To cap things off, it has been reported early this month that Kopernikus Corporation has acquired Antenna Group’s media assets in both Serbia and Montenegro for €180 million. They include the national TV stations Prva and O2, as well as six cable channels, radio station and three portals.
Serbia’s TV industry is clearly in a state of flux, with the reverberations being increasingly felt in others parts of the Balkans, and more changes undoubtedly lie ahead in the weeks and months to come.
What is more, Telekom Srbija is likely to be at the centre of most of these changes.