The Czech Republic will see the launch of its first-ever pay-DTT service on October 1.
It will be operated by Canal+-backed M7 Group, working in partnership with Prague Digital TV, and initially serve the capital and surrounding area.
Given the huge popularity of FTA terrestrial TV services in the country, it may seem surprising that it is only now that a paid offer is being introduced into the marketplace. It nevertheless ties in with the fact that pay-TV is becoming increasingly popular and now received by just over half of Czech households.
Furthermore, the Czech Republic is in the final stages of switching to the DVB-T2 standard and this creates the opportunity to launch paid terrestrial TV services.
Speaking to the publication Parabola, Jaromir Glisnik, a member of M7 Group’s board, said that Prague Digital TV offered it free capacity on its regional multiplex and the company decided to use it to launch a paid and encrypted terrestrial TV service. Tests on the multiplex began with its switch to DVB-T2 on September 3 and will continue up to the commercial launch of the service, known as Skylink Antena+, at the beginning of next month.
Glisnik also said that M7 Group may consider launching pay-DTT services in other parts of the country. However, these would be limited to locations with high population density and relatively flat terrain. Ultimately, the company would like to secure a national multiplex which, if it can reach 85% of the population, would make such services viable.
Skylink Antena+ will launch with a single package of channels and aim to secure 10,000 subscribers in its first year of operation. In due course, it could pave the way for important changes in the Czech market and provide further impetus for an already dynamic pay-TV sector.
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