What does 2021 hold in store for the TV industry in Central and Eastern Europe?
With the New Year fast approaching and the region still in the grip of the pandemic, it is perhaps hard to feel confident about the future.
However, if the last three months or so are anything to go by, we can probably expect to see increased activity and indeed optimism in at least some areas.
The most obvious is M&As, where we have recently witnessed such transactions as PPF Group completing the acquisition of CME and Orange entering into an agreement to buy Telekom Romania’s fixed-line business. United Group is growing its presence throughout South East Europe and earlier this week it was reported that it is targeting Nova TV, the Bulgarian national broadcaster formerly part of Modern Times Group’s CEE operations and now owned by Advanced Media Group. Although it is unclear how much substance there is to this report, it is highly likely that United Group will continue its acquisition spree in 2021.
Elsewhere, Greece’s OTE may decide to exit Romania completely by also selling its stake in Telekom Romania’s mobile operation in order to focus on its home market, where it has along with Vodafone and Wind just been awarded 5G licences.
The first lockdown imposed throughout CEE following the onset on the pandemic resulted in dramatic changes in the TV industry, with average daily viewing time, for instance, rising to levels not seen in many years. While this has since fallen in most countries, it could well increase again, especially in the early part of 2021, should further lockdowns be imposed.
Meanwhile, the TV ad market could again be hit after showing signs of recovery in the third quarter. On demand services, on the other hand, look set for a good year across the region in 2021 and anticipation at the arrival of Disney+ is already growing.
2021 will almost certainly be another challenging year for TV in Central and Eastern Europe. The industry is nevertheless more than capable of holding its own in adversity, as has so clearly demonstrated in the last nine months of this year.
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