This week marks the 25th anniversary of Prague-based TV Nova, one of the first national commercial broadcasters in Central and Eastern Europe.
For its owner Central European Media Enterprises (CME) the last quarter century has been a rollercoaster ride, with as many highs as there have been lows. At its zenith in the late 1990s it had a presence in markets such as Poland (TVN) and Ukraine (Studio 1+1), as well as the key territories of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. However, it was then hit by difficulties, recovered, and again came under pressure. There was initially a major fall-out with Vladimir Zelezny, its partner in the Czech Republic, and much later a financial crisis that almost brought the company to its knees.
Today, the picture looks much rosier. In its latest set of results, CME says it has begun 2019 in its best-ever financial position following 20 consecutive quarters of growth.
Perhaps the only downside to its current position has been the failure to dispose of its broadcasting assets in Slovenia, having initially agreed to sell them, along with those in Croatia, to United Group in a deal worth €230 million.
Both transactions ran into regulatory difficulties, and while the one in Croatia eventually went through CME decided last month to pull the plug on the Slovenian sale.
Which was perhaps no bad thing, as Slovenia’s Pop TV has been performing well financially in the last couple of years and is arguably a station worth retaining.
As to the future, CME will have to keep moving with the times. However, to survive the next quarter century in what is a rapidly changing marketplace it will arguably have to become an innovator.
Having strong foundations and the backing of Time Warner will certainly hold it in good stead.