TVN has been a mainstay of Polish broadcasting for almost a quarter of a century.
Launched in October 1997 as a joint venture between CME and the local company ITI TV Holdings, it quickly established itself in a market already served by publicly owned TVP and Zygmunt Solorz’s Polsat and today offers viewers an array of services including a national station, growing portfolio of thematic channels and on demand content.
Perhaps not surprisingly, TVN has undergone several ownership changes over the years, with the most recent seeing it sold by Canal+ and ITI Group to Scripps Networks Interactive in 2015 and then on to Discovery Communications in 2018 following the latter’s acquisition of Scripps. Today, it can rightfully be called, alongside TVP and (Cyfrowy) Polsat, of the three pillars of Poland’s audiovisual media industry.
It may therefore come a something of a surprise to outside observers that TVN’s future is now in serious doubt. Despite applying for a licence renewal for its long-established and popular news channel TVN24 back in February 2020 – the current one expires on September 26 – it has yet to receive a response from the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT). Indeed, a vote held by the latter among its members as recently as this week (Thursday, July 22) proved to be indecisive
More importantly, at the beginning of this month the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party proposed amendments to the Broadcast Act that would require all licensed distributors of radio and TV services in Poland to be based in the European Economic Area (EEA) and not be dependent on anyone based outside the EEA. This would impact TVN as although its owner is registered in the Netherlands as Polish Television Holding BV it is ultimately headquartered in the US.
A vote on the amendment was due to take place this week but has been put back, most probably until August 11, as the PiS-led government was reportedly unable to muster enough support from other members of the ruling coalition. If passed in its current form, it could have major implications for the Polish media industry, with Discovery effectively having to exit the country.
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