2021 is turning out to be a busy year for TV channel launches across Central and Eastern Europe.
In Poland, for instance, we have already seen the appearance of the public broadcaster’s TVP Kobieta, which is aimed at a female audience, and MWE Networks’ Antena TV, targeting viewers aged 50+.
Meanwhile in Russia, the multi-platform operator Tricolor has launched a portfolio of new sports channels covering – amongst others – football, hockey, mixed martial arts, alpine skiing and motor sports. At the same time, the Krasnaya Zvezda media holding has given a debut to Zvezda Plus, a new cable and satellite-delivered service with a patriotic flavour, and a joint venture between First HDTV, Roskosmos and Tricolor a channel named First Space dedicated to space and the space industry.
Elsewhere, last month saw the start of test broadcasts of the first-ever locally produced esports and new technology channel in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Operated by the Bratislava-based company Spravca SK, Chuck TV will eventually be a 24-hour service offering content in 4K and HD. Slovakia is now also preparing for the launch of new sports channels operated by publicly owned RTVS and the national commercial broadcaster Joj, while in the Czech Republic FTV Prima has just received a licence to operate a new drama and entertainment-based channel named Prima Star.
In the Baltics, the Latvian incumbent Tet has announced the upcoming launch of 5TV, a new Russian language channel, later this month. TV3 launched a new channel named TV Sport Open in the region back in February, while the Latvian company 4.vara is set to launch a new terrestrial channel.
In Ukraine, the market is preparing for the launch of Mason TV and Zakon TV, two new thematic channels backed the former presidential candidate Vladimir Petrov.
This is probably just the tip of the iceberg, with other new TV channels across CEE having already been launched this year or expected to do so shortly. At the same time, there are or will almost inevitably be some closures, with the highest profile so far being that of Orange’s sports channels in Slovakia at the end of next month.
All these new channel launches are arguably a positive sign, indicating that the region’s TV industry is starting to recover following a challenging 2020.
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