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CEE TV industry news stories

Chris Dziadul, March 15, 2024
 
 
Xavier Niel to buy Ukraine’s Datagroup-Volia
The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) has given the French billionaire Xavier Niel permission to buy Datagroup-Volia through his Cypriot-registered company DVL Telecom. It is also giving considering to DVL Telecom’s proposed acquisition of Ukraine’s Lifecell Group. Datagroup is a leading national fibre infrastructure and digital services provider in Ukraine. It acquired Volia, one of the country’s leading pay-TV and broadband providers, in 2021. Xavier Niel is the founder and majority owner of French media group iliad.
 
TVP World back, TV Bielsat funding cut
The Polish public broadcaster’s 24-hour English language channel TVP World is back on air after a three-month break. It is being distributed on cable and DTH networks, including Sling TV in the US), online at tvpworld.com and on the TVP app. It will soon also be available terrestrially in Lithuania, Estonia and Austria, and on MUX-6 in Poland. Separately, there are major changes at TV Bielsat, the channel operated by TVP and aimed at Belarus. Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy is no longer the director, with her functions taken over by Aleksy Dziwacki, her deputy and one of the channel’s founders.  TV Bielsat has also failed to secure its planned budget of PLN90 million (€21 million) for 2024, though it will receive PLN40 million from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a further PLN14 million from TVP World resources. Despite the cut in funding TV Bielsat, which currently employs around 300 people, will remain on air and part of TVP’s network serving foreign audiences.
 
DigitAlb opts for eSports package
The Albanian pay-TV operator DigitAlb has become one of the first in Central and Eastern Europe to choose eCLUTCH, a new eSports package formed as the result of an agreement between Eutelsat and iKO Media Group announced earlier this week. The package initially consists of 10 eSports and gaming channels and is being distributed across Europe, the Middle East and Africa on Eutelsat’s 16 degrees East orbital position, Hotbird at 13 degrees East and 7/8 degrees West.
 
Premier tops Russian streaming growth
Gazprom-Media’s Premier was the fastest growing streaming service in Russia in 2023 in revenue terms. According to Gazprom-Media, quoting figures published by Telecom Daily, its revenue grew by 17%, while its share of total revenue of the Russian streaming market increased from 4% to 6%. The value of the Russian streaming market is estimated to be worth R80.9 billion (€810 million).
 
Czech Prima secures channel licences
The Czech regulator RRTV has awarded the national commercial broadcaster Prima licences to operate two channels aimed at the Slovak market. Known as Prima Cool SK and Prima Love SK, they will be on air for 16-24 hours daily and distributed via satellite. RRTV has also allowed Prima to rename its channel Prima Plus, which is available in Slovakia, Prima SK.
 
EBU expresses Slovak pubcaster concerns
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has said it is “highly concerned” about Slovak government proposals that threaten the independence of the public broadcaster RTVS. Under a draft law, RTVS would be renamed Slovak Television and Radio and the government would have the power to remove all the current members of RTVS’ governing Council. A new governing Council would be set up composed of seven members – three appointed by the Ministry of Culture and four by the government coalition-controlled Parliament. The DG of the new broadcaster would be appointed by this Council, which would also have the power to dismiss them on any grounds.
 
Video content becomes more accessible in Latvia
More than 10,000 units of content with subtitles were available in the catalogues of on demand providers in Latvia in 2023. This, according to the regulator NEPLP, was 12% more than a year earlier. The greatest availability was offered by Tet, LMT and Megogo, and out of 22 electronic media companies offering on demand services in 2023 a total of 13 provide a content access solution, mostly subtitles.
 
Milestone for Magenta TV
The new Montenegrin platform Magenta TV has already secured 20,000 users six months after its launch. Magenta TV is operated by Crnogorski Telekom and replaced a previous platform known as Extra TV. Crnogorski Telekom is part of the Deutsche Telekom Group.
 
Vodafone expands in Czech Republic
The Czech Office for the Protection of Economic Competition (UOHS) has approved the sale of the virtual mobile operator SAZKmobil to Vodafone. The transaction, which was first announced at the end of last year, now looks likely to be completed in April. SAZKmobil is owned by the leading Czech lottery company Sazka and has over 200,000 customers in the country.
 
Tet+ adds Amazon MGM content
The Latvian streaming service Tet+ has added movies and series from Amazon MGM Studios to its offer. Tet+ is operated by the Latvian incumbent telco Tet as of the beginning of this year offered its subscribers 5,000 series episodes and movies totalling over 13,000 hours in length. Just over a fifth (22%) was original Tet content.
 
 
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© Chris Dziadul, 2024
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