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CEE TV industry news stories

Chris Dziadul, February 9, 2024

Croatian telcos face investigation
Croatia’s Agency for the Protection of Market Competition (AZTN) has launched an investigation against Hrvatski Telekom, A1 Hrvatska, Telemach Hrvatska and the Croatian Association of Employers, Association for IT and Communication Activities. In a statement, it says the proceeding were initiated on December 28 last year and are looking into the parties entering into a possible prohibited agreement on harmonising prices by introducing an index clause.
Successful year for Czech streamer prima+
The streaming service prima+ operated by the Czech Republic’s Prima Group celebrated its first anniversary with the news that it now has over 1million users. Of these, over 125,000 are subscribers, with the service offering Free, Light and Premium tariffs, used on average three, almost seven and almost ten hours a week respectively. In the year since its launch prima+ users have watched over 110 million video views and 43 million hours of content. Prima+ launched 13 premium series, hundreds of episodes earlier than on television, over a thousand Czech and foreign films and more than three and a half thousand episodes of foreign series.
Its most popular show is the series ZOO.
Telekom Srbija “not selling shares”
Vladimir Lucic, the CEO of Telekom Srbija, has stated publicly that the company has no intention of selling shares but instead plans to expand its operations. Significantly, this could indicate that the telco could be recapitalised as it is still not listed on the Belgrade Stock Exchange. Rumours have mentioned the investment fund Cerberus as a potential buyer of up to 20% of shares in Telekom Srbija.
Warner Bros. Discovery expands in Croatia
A1 Croatia has added Warner Bros. Discovery’s Eurosport 1 and 2, Discovery Channel, TLC and HGTV to its A1 TV package. The premium channels are being made available to existing subscribers for no additional charge.  A1 Croatia also offers its subscribers Netflix. This follows an agreement between its parent company A1 Telekom Austria Group and the streamer signed in October last year.
Skylink adds Apple Originals
M7 Group’s Skylink has added Apple Originals to its Skylink Live TV offer in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Customers of freeSAT, which is also operated by M7 Group, itself owned by Canal+, who receive a signal from Astra 23.5 degrees East can also see the Apple TV+ offer. All titles are available in the original version with Czech and Slovak subtitles.
Regulator criticises Poland’s TVP
Poland’s National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) says the public broadcaster TVP has failed to fulfil its mission because since December 20, 2023 it has not broadcast TVP3 regional programmes and regional programmes created by 16 regional branches of TVP, TVP Info and TVP World. It adds that TVP also lost ad revenue and audience share between December 20, 2023 and end of last month. In the case of TVP Info, which was shut down from December 20-28, the AMR (Average Minute Rating) fell from 366,280 earlier in the month to 92,781 between December 29 and January 28. The majority of KRRiT members including its head Maciej Swirski are opposed to the new management at TVP and have delayed the payment of receiver licence fee income to the broadcaster.
New football channel in Ukraine
The Ukrainian Premier League (UPL) will launch a new sports channel later this month. Known as UPL TV, it will be distributed by 1+1 Media and shown on basic subscriptions on both OTT platforms and Viasat’s cable TV and DTH services. The official broadcast of the first match will take place on February 23 and the channel will be fully launched at the start of the 2024/5 season in July.
Czech TV updates Teletext hybrid app
The Czech public broadcaster Ceska Televize (CT) has launched a new version of the Teletext hybrid application built on internet technology. Teletext was the first application of HbbTV technology in the Czech Republic and is now gaining new users thanks to this technology.  It currently has 50,000-60,000 unique users and 3.886 million pages were viewed last December. CT is expanding the availability of its key digital service iVysilani and it is already available on seven television platforms including HbbTV (red button). In the latter case, the adult version had 700,000 unique users last December.  
New owner for “Russia’s Google”
The Dutch parent company of Yandex has agreed to sell all its businesses in Russia and certain international markets. The buyers are an investment fund named Consortium.First, which includes Russian companies and investment funds not under Western sanctions. The transaction has reportedly been welcomed by the Kremlin. Yandex has been described as “Russia’s Google” but has no connection with the US tech giant. Separately, it has been reported that Russia is preparing to block major VPN services from next month.
O2 secures golf rights
The Czech Republic’s O2 TV Sport channel has extended its rights to the Ladies European Tour golf series until 2026. As a result, Czech viewers will be able to watch live broadcasts of up to 20 tournaments, with the first starting this week in Kenya. In 2024, a record €34m will be paid out in prize money to participants in the series.
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© Chris Dziadul, 2024
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