2019 is turning out to be an important year for HbbTV in Central and Eastern Europe.
Earlier this month, for instance, we saw the launch of a new national HbbTV/OTT service in Lithuania. A joint venture between the Lithuanian broadcasters LRT, LNK and Lietuvos Rytas TV, operated by Telecentras and employing a platform supplied by Icareus, HiTV is one of the first broadcasters’ joint HbbTV/OTT services in the world and marks a major advance for the TV industry in Lithuania.
Elsewhere, the Polish national transmission company Emitel announced just this week that it will show live friendly matches being played by Legia Warsaw on the football club’s channel employing HbbTV technology.
Emitel began working with Legia Warsaw last year and is an active player in the HbbTV sector as a whole, making content available via HbbTV on Multiplex 8.
Also in Poland, we saw the Discovery-owned national commercial broadcaster TVN launch an HbbTV application on its flagship channel of the same name earlier this year.
In the Czech Republic, which has been the region’s main driver for HbbTV and indeed HbbTV programmatic advertising, and where HbbTV services are already received in over 30% of homes, 2019 began with Cesky Radio becoming the first radio station in the country to use an interactive HbbTV application.
More recently, the public broadcaster CT launched a new version of its most visited HbbTV application iVysilani and Prima tested a new ad format in HbbTV.
Meanwhile, in Slovakia the national broadcaster Joj, which launched HbbTV services in April 2018, made its HbbTV application available to Skylink subscribers this spring.
These developments all point to a promising future for HbbTV in the region. Services are now available in most markets and are likely to continue expanding at an impressive rate.