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CEE TV industry news stories

Chris Dziadul, February 16, 2024
Xavier Niel targets Ukraine’s Volia
The French billionaire Xavier Niel has reportedly re-submitted an application to the Ukrainian Antimonopoly Committee (AMKU) to buy Datagroup-Volia through his investment company NJJ Capital. He has also resubmitted an application to buy Ukraine’s lifecell and associated companies from Turkcell. Niel’s interests include France’s iliad, which is also present in Poland. Datagroup-Volia is one of the leading media and telco operators in Ukraine.
Deal extension for Setanta Sports and Bundesliga
Bundesliga International and Setanta Sports have agreed an expansion of their broadcast rights partnership, which includes the renewal of 10 Euroasian markets and the additional inclusion of three Baltic territories. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, Setanta Sports has been broadcasting the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. This will now be extended until the end of the 2028-29 season. In the Baltics, Setanta Sports will begin to broadcast German football immediately, until the end of the 2024-25 season.
Major Latvian operators to merge
The merger of the Latvian operators Baltcom and Bite Latvija has got under way and will be completed this summer. From that point, Bite Latvija will continue to provide all existing Baltcom services under the Bite brand. The merged companies’ offer will include the OTT service Go3. Bite Latvija completed the acquisition of Baltcom in 2020 for an undisclosed fee.
Olympic tie-up for Warner Bros. Discovery and Inea
Warner Bros. Discovery in Poland and the cable operator Inea have entered into a collaboration to provide the latter’s customers with coverage of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on Eurosport channels. They will be offered over 830 hours of broadcasts, with more than 200 hours being in 4K. 4K coverage will include 67 hours of track and field, 32 hours of volleyball and 28 hours of swimming.
Mixed TV picture for Orange Polska
Orange Polska ended Q4 2023 with a total of 945,000 subscribers to its TV services. Although this was up from 936,000 three months earlier, the overall trend has been downwards for some time, with the number totalling 978,000 at the beginning and 955,000 at the end of 2022. While Orange Polska’s IPTV base continues to grow – 886,000 at the end of 2023, compared to 821,000 in Q4 2022 – its DTH subscriber total is falling rapidly. At the end of 2023 it stood at 59,000, down from 135,000 a year earlier. Of Orange Polska’s 945,000 TV subscribers at the end of last year, 838,000 were B2C convergent.
Czech TV viewing falls
Television viewing fell by 3% to a daily average of 3 hours 39 minutes in the Czech Republic last year. According to data published by Atmedia, among the V4 countries of Central Europe it was similar to Slovakia (3 hours 59 minutes, -6%) but lower than in Poland (4 hours 118 minutes, -4%) and Hungary (5 hours 6 minutes, -1%).
Streaming growth for O2 Slovakia
O2 Slovakia ended 2023 with a total of 181,000 subscribers to streaming services (Netflix, HBO and Voyo), as well as its own service O2 TV. This was 54% more than a year earlier. O2 Group, which consists of O2 Slovakia and O2 Business Services, had revenues of €349 million in 2023, or 8% more than the previous year. Its EBITDA was 1% lower at €75 million.
Telemach expands on demand offer
Telemach Hrvatska has launched its new EON Video Club service on the pay-TV platform EON TV in Croatia. EON Video Club offers over 25,000 movies, series and documentaries and is the most comprehensive video library available to all EON users.  
Canal+ inks TVP deal
The Polish public broadcaster TVP has signed a sub-licensing agreement with Canal+ for domestic rights to Ekstraklasa, the country’s leading football league. The previous agreement between the two parties ended at the end of the 2022-23 season and TVP will now show 15 matches up until the end of the current season. The rights cover linear broadcasting, mobile and other digital platforms.  
Record investment by A1 Hrvatska
A1 Hrvatska invested a record of over €200 million in the modernisation of its infrastructure in 2023. Up to 800,000 households in Croatia can already receive A1’s giga internet service, with the total set to rise to 1 million, or 70% of the country’s total, in 2025. With the help of EU funds, A1 Hrvatska has also built a fibre-optic network covering 45,000 households in Kastela, Ivanic-Grad and Solin.
Bartosz Witak joins BBC Studios
BBC Studios has appointed Bartosz Witak the general manager for the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. In his new role he will explore new opportunities across BBC Studios business -branded services, content sales and digital. Witak’s career includes 16 years at ViacomCBS, where he was senior VP and MSD for Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe and Israel.

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© Chris Dziadul, 2024


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