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CEE TV industry news stories

Chris Dziadul, April 11, 2024
 
Netflix wins in Poland
Almost three-quarters (71%) of Disney+ customers in Poland subscribe to Netflix. According to an analysis by Screen Lovers, quoting Wavemaker’s VideoTrack, HBO Max (65%) and SkyShowtime (81%) customers also opt for the service. On the other hand, only 2% of Netflix, 4% of Player and 8% of Prime subscribers choose Apple+. In other interesting findings, although Netflix has the highest loyalty (73%) among the 68% of VOD customers it reaches, several other services enjoy high loyalty despite have a much smaller reach. They include Polsat Box Go (36% loyalty, 10% reach), CDA Premium (35% loyalty, 8% reach) and Canal+ Online (30% loyalty, 10% reach).
 
Xavier Niel’s Ukrainian plans revealed
The French billionaire Xavier Niel, whose assets include the telco group iliad, plans to merge Ukraine’s Datagroup-Volia with Lifecell. Last month his investment form NJJ Holding obtained regulatory approval to buy Datagroup-Volia, one of the country’s leading telco and pay-TV operators. Datagroup-Volia is currently owned by a fund managed by the US private equity firm Horizon Capital (96.13%) and Datagroup-Volia CEO Mykhaylo Shelemba (3.87%). Meanwhile Lifecell is Ukraine’s third largest and the fastest growing mobile operator. The combined Datagroup-Volia/Lifecell entity will provide mobile services to nearly 10 million Ukrainians and its fixed network will cover around 4 million homes across the country.
 
Jan Maxa to leave Czech TV
Jan Maxa, the head of the digital services division at the Czech public broadcaster Ceska Televize (CT), will leave his position at the end of June. News of his departure was confirmed to the publication Mediar by CT. Maxa has been at CT for 12 years, prior to which he held several executive positions at TV Nova and its owner Central European Media Enterprises (CME).
 
TVP formally in liquidation
The Warsaw District Court has placed the Polish public broadcaster TVP into liquidation and appointed Daniel Gorgosz as its liquidator. Following its ruling, the changes were recorded in the National Court Register (KRS). Gorgosz has been managing TVP since late December 2023. One of his first actions this week was to issue a final pre-litigation demand to Maciej Swirski, the head of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT), of PLN141,780,000 (€33,254,641)) plus interest, for the payment of licence fee proceeds.
 
Key merger in Croatian comms market
The Commercial Court in Zagreb has officially rubber-stamped the merger of the national transmission company OiV with the Maritime Centre for Electronics (PCE). The merger of the two complementary companies, both of which are owned by the Republic of Croatia and whose activities are closely related to electronic communications, will create new synergies, diversify their portfolio and ultimately increase their income. The newly merged company will continue to operate under the name OiV.
 
Polsat expands streaming offer
Poland’s Polsat Box has launched a new package for its DTH and IPTV subscribers. Known as Stream+, it gives access to Disney+ and HBO Max (including three HBO channels) and costs PLN49.99 (€11.72) a month with a 24-month contract.
Subscribers can also take advantage of promotional offers, with the first three or six months available free of charge with other packages.
 
Record fine for Hrvatski Telekom
The Croatian incumbent Hrvatski Telekom (HT) says it has no intention of paying a record fine of €5.9 million. It was imposed by the regulator HAKOM for failing to meet a deadline in 2020 about how long it took to change the internet speed for users, from three hours to five minutes. HT says it was given a month to change the system, which in its view was insufficient.
 
Bulgarian upgrade for The History Channel
The History Channel has been relaunched in Bulgaria with a dedicated fully localised feed. Broadcast in Bulgarian, it offers a mix of original and international programming content with specific ad breaks for local advertisers. The local broker The Sales House Bulgaria will handle ad sales, selling commercials and advertising solutions for A+E Networks EMEA.
 
Orion implements HbbTV solution
Russia’s Orion has integrated HbbTV into the thematic channels KHL and KHL Prime, which are dedicated to hockey. The HbbTV service is now available to around 100,000 subscribers, with several thousand using it every day. Orion notes that smart TVs now account for 80-90% of all TV receiver sales in the country and that this guarantees further growth of HbbTV.
 
Digi sells Spanish asset
Digi Communications’ Spanish subsidiary has agreed to sell its FTTH network in 12 of the country’s provinces to a consortium comprising of Macquarie Capital, abrdn and Arjun Infrastructure Partners for up to €750 million. The network currently comprises of approximately 4,250,000 homes passed, with the number set to increase to 6,000,000 over the next three years. News of the sale, which is subject to a number of conditions, saw shares in Romanian-owned Digi rise by 9%.
 
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To register your interest in receiving regular news updates on the TV industry in Central and Eastern Europe, please email: chrisdziadul@outlook.com
 
© Chris Dziadul, 2024
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