Antenna Group has agreed with Sony Pictures Television to acquire the CEE AXN, Sony and Viasat pay-TV channels and on demand services as part of a major investment in the region.
According to Antenna Group, the multi-territory, multi-channel deal, which is for an undisclosed fee, allows it to enhance its position as a market leader in the region, with the opportunity to further expand its reach across the CEE media landscape, targeting an audience in excess of 100 million. The newly acquired entertainment channels and on demand services achieve 90% pay-TV market penetration with more than 24 million subscribers in Poland, Hungary, Czechia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Montenegro.
The 22 channels, which include the AXN and Viasat legacy brands, provide a mix of original productions and international programming from major studios including Sony Pictures Entertainment, CBS, Warner Bros, NBC Universal, Disney and eOne. Antenna Group says it will seek to enhance the channel offering, delivering news and entertainment, including world class studio and locally produced content, while successfully growing audiences and maximising distribution. It also says it will be seeking further investment opportunities across content production companies, TV channels and OTT services throughout the region.
Antenna Group, which has investments and operations in North America, Europe and Australia, currently reaches a global audience in excess of 150 million. In CEE, it has assets of €1 billion across Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania and surrounding Eastern European markets.
Commenting on the acquisition, Theodore Kyriakou, chairman of Antenna Group, said: “As Antenna Group continues to invest in media opportunities globally, the CEE region remains an important focus for us. We have invested in this region for more than 20 years aiming to provide the best entertainment and news content locally. This acquisition is yet another step in this direction whilst unlocking further growth in these markets”.
Adam Theiler, CEO pay-TV Antenna Group, added: “I am delighted to welcome the Sony Networks’ team in Warsaw, Budapest and Bucharest to Antenna Group. Together, we will renew our efforts to entertain the legions of fans who trust AXN and Viasat, and by doing so, confirm our place as the preferred content partner of the pay-TV operators and advertisers who share our aspiration to grow the pay-TV market in Central and Eastern Europe”.
In May, Sony sold its UK channel portfolio to Narrative Capital. They later rebranded as Great TV.