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Yesterday β€” November 16th 2018Broadband TV News: Central & East Europe

Reports: Magyar Telekom could be sold

By Chris Dziadul

Deutsche Telekom has reportedly received a bid of €2 billion for Magyar Telekom.

However, quoting Világgazdaság, Portfolio.hu reports that it is not clear if the amount is for Deutsche Telekom’s 59.21% stake or one that values the entire Hungarian company at €2 billion.

Furthermore, the report quotes the Bloomberg Concorde analyst Gellért Gaál, who says the market rumours are based on a published article and it is unclear why Deutsche Telekom would want to sell its Hungarian interest.

Aside from Deutsche Telekom, Magyar Telekom is backed by Brandes Investment Partners, which has a stake of over 5% in the telco, and 33.63% is a float. If the bid was for only 59.21%, the prospective buyer would have to make a binding offer for the remaining 40.79% as it would exceed the 25% bidding limit for the fund transaction. This would put the value of Magyar Telekom at over €3 billion.

The rumours of a possible sale has result in a significant increase in the cost of Magyar Telekom shares in recent days.

Pay-TV price hike in Ukraine

By Chris Dziadul

The cost of receiving pay-TV services in Ukraine is set to increase by between 15-40% in the New Year.

In a statement, the country’s Association of Rights Owners and Content Providers (APPK) says that news of the increase was announced by its chairman of the board Natalia Klytna at a conference in Kviv earlier this month.

It adds that according to the State Service of Ukraine, in the first half of 2018 the average monthly cost of receiving services for cable subscribers was already UAH72 (€2.27). However, tariffs continue to increase due to significant increases in fees for intellectual property rights by producers of Ukrainian content. The minimum cost for accessing packages containing Ukrainian content is now UAH56-70 a month.

APPK says that while the increase for cable TV subscribers is justified, there is still no level playing field, with satellite and DTT viewers being able to watch Ukrainian channels for free.

However, this will change for the former on May 31, 2019, when satellite start will start to be encrypted.

Meanwhile, the DTT platform operator Zeonbud plans to introduce a pay package.

Its current (free) service, offering around 30 Ukrainian channels, is watched by around a third of Ukrainian viewers.

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Central & East Europe

Triple country DTH platform for SES and Telekom Srbija

By Chris Dziadul

In what will be a first for SES, the company will simultaneously launch a DTH platform in three countries in cooperation with Telekom Srbija by the end of the year.

Speaking at a press event in Belgrade organised by the two companies and attended by Broadband TV News, Marijana Vukasinovic, head of content management at Telekom Srbija, said that the new platform will offer viewers in Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro over 150 TV channels, including numerous ones in HD.

Although December 15 was mentioned as a possible start date, she said that the aim was to launch the platform as soon as possible and certainly by the end of the year.

Speaking more generally to Broadband TV News, Vukasinovic said that Telekom Srbija does not like to be compared with other companies in Serbia as it is the incumbent and offers a full bundle of services. It only competed with cable operators, for instance, in the TV segment. Its plans in the TV segment in the near future include the launch of more specialised channels, including HD and 4K.

Meanwhile, Norbert Hölzle, SES Astra SVP Europe and Middle East, told Broadband TV News it was important to be seen as a partner for telcos. Furthermore, the launch is an excellent way to enter new countries with Telekom Srbija, which SES regards as an important client. The move also fits in with SES’s strategy.

Also speaking at the event, Gorica Zaric, Editor-in-Chief of thematic channels, RTS, provided an overview of its proprietary channels. These include RTS Drama, RTS Life and RTS Treasure.

Broadband TV News notes that further details of the new platform, including prices, will be announced closer to its launch.

2019: 4K box and quality channels for Slovak Telekom

By Chris Dziadul

Slovak Telekom plans to introduce a 4K set-top box at some stage in 2019.

Speaking to Zive, Andrej Miklánek, the head of the company’s TV services department, also said that it will introduce major changes in its programme offer in the middle of next year, focusing on quality and dropping less popular channels.

In the case of 4K, Miklánek said out that Slovak Telekom may offer some content in 4K on Digi Sport via its new box.

At present, it can only be viewed in 4K on a mobile app, “but we’d rather go another way”.

Customers who buy the new box will have an interesting offer of 4K content.

Filmbox extends Antenna HungΓ‘ria deal

By Chris Dziadul

SPI/Filmbox Hungary and Antenna Hungária have extended their partnership for a further two years.

The two companies have been working together since 2014 and viewers will continue to be offered FilmBox Basic and FilmBox Premium until September 30, 2020.

Furthermore, in addition to appearing in the MinDig TV Extra subscription packages, FilmBox Live’s internet-based service is also made available by the service provider.

Commenting on the development, Tamás Fülöp, regional operation director of SPI International, said: “Our partner relationship with Antenna Hungária proved to be fruitful, so we agreed to continue working on a joint agreement. We are delighted to provide exciting channels and content to our viewers on this platform in the future”.

Digi grows customer base

By Chris Dziadul

Digi Communications gained 200,000 cable TV customers in its main market Romania in the year to September 30.

According to the latest results published by the company, it ended September with 3.2 million cable TV RGUs, or 8.7% more than a year earlier. At the same time, its fixed internet RGU total increased by 10.5% to 2.5 million.

Digi also strengthened its pay-TV position in Hungary, where its revenues, including those of Invitel, increased to €54.6 million in Q3.

It was the country’s second leading provider of fixed internet services, with a market share of over 25%, and had a 23% share in the fixed telephony sector. These factors, it points out, are prerequisites for the launch of mobile telephony services.

Digi, which also has a presence in Spain and Italy, had revenues of €270 million in Q3, or 17.3% more than a year earlier, while its adjusted EBITDA was 10.7% higher at €81.7 million.

At a group level, it had 3.9 million cable TV RGUs (+13%) and 3.2 million (+19%) fixed internet RGUs.

Its pay-TV RGU total stood at 4.8 million, compared to 4.4 million a year earlier.

Insight TV expands in Russia

By Chris Dziadul

The 4K UHD broadcaster Insight TV has signed a new distribution deal with ER-Telecom, one of Russia’s leading cable operators.

As a result, its channel is now available to Dom.ru digital TV viewers with UHD-capable equipment.

Commenting on the development, Graeme Stanley, CCO, Insight TV said” “Russia is an important region for us and we’re pleased to partner with ER-Telecom to bring our content to a greater number of viewers there. This deal further underscores our huge growth in the past 12 months and our commitment to delivering immersive, 4K UHD content worldwide.”

Lyubov Vasilenkova, sales department head of First HDTV TV-company, added: “We’re developing jointly with our partners and we’re aiming to be ahead of the curve by partnering with modern operators such as ER-Telecom. The operator offers its subscribers the new format of 4? broadcasting and we are pleased that Insight TV will become the new 4K channel permanently available for ER-Telecom subscribers”,

Ksenia Borovikova, content management service Head, JSC ER-Telecom Holding, said: “When choosing a UHD channel, we focused on the interests of our clients. Insight TV broadcasts various topics that are interesting for a wide range of viewers: meetings with amazing people, their hobbies, action sports, unusual discoveries, extreme trips and many other things. The channel’s resolution is four times higher than HD format, and the clearer and the more realistic the picture is, the more vivid the viewers’ experience is. The new broadcasting standard is an important step for Dom.ru as one of the biggest operators in Russia.”

Ukraine eyes local DVB-T2 channels

By Chris Dziadul

The Ukrainian regulator National Council, in cooperation with other government bodies, is looking into the possibility of local TV channels employing the DVB-T2 standard.

They would be launched following the final switch off of analogue broadcasting on May 1, 2019 and cover both areas in which digital reception is possible and ‘white spots’ where there is no digital signal.

In a statement, the National Council says it has produced step-by-step instructions for broadcasters with analogue licences and not currently represented in digital multiplexes.

They are invited to submit documentation to the regulator by November 30.

Warsaw Declaration: International cooperation key to fighting piracy

By Chris Dziadul

Thirty-four international and local organisations, institutions and companies have declared their willingness to cooperate in an effort to combat internet piracy in response to the globalisation of cybercrime.

The announcement of mutual support, as well as experience sharing, forms the core of the Warsaw Declaration, which came to fruition during the International Content Protection Summit, which as previously reported by Broadband TV News was held last month in the Polish capital.

The participants of the event discussed characteristics and the scale of piracy in individual countries as well as the current measures aimed at preventing cybercrime. They shared experiences, discussed examples of international actions as well as legal and operational aspects of activities, including the cooperation with the advertising market and payment providers in order to limit the illicit trade of video content by means of blocking illegal websites as well as educational activities and undertakings aimed at raising awareness about intellectual property infringement.

The biggest current challenges of the creative market, related to piracy, are the increasing global reach of cybercrime, new technologies used for illegal distribution of content (for example, IPTV), the use of cryptocurrencies as a new payment method as well as the consequences of the lack of a uniform European law and incomplete implementation of individual directives in certain countries.

“Piracy is currently a highly profitable undertaking with a complicated network of relations. There is proof of its connections to other types of crime. The alarming figures concerning the scale of theft and illegal trade of audiovisual content are a motivating factor to take action. Holding the first international meeting on combating piracy in our region was aimed at underlining the value of experience sharing and the necessity of cooperation between organisations, institutions and governmental bodies as well as businesses from various countries,” said Teresa Wierzbowska, the president of the Board of the Sygna? Association.

The 120 participants of the ICPS were representatives of organisations, institutions and companies from all around Europe as well as from other continents.

The conference was organised by the Sygna? Association with the support of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKIDN), the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), the Polish Chamber of Commerce for Electronics and Telecommunications (KIGEiT) and the Polish Confederation Lewiatan, with the media partnership of Business Insider, Discovery, TVN, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Polsat, Press, Rzeczpospolita and TVP.

Orange hit by Polish fine

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) has fined Orange Polska for sending marketing SMSs without the required consent of subscribers or end users.

In a statement, the regulator says that it has imposed fines totalling PLN9.1 million (€2.12 million) for over 3.8 million such SMSs, which were sent in violation of the Telecommunications Act.

However, it has also positively taken into account the efforts of Orange Polska aimed at compensating subscribers and end users by granting them special bonuses (data packages).

The UKE’s decision is not final as it may be appealed against in court by Orange Polska.

CTC Media launches lawsuits

By Chris Dziadul

The Russian broadcaster CTC Media is taking legal action against violators of the rights to its Three Cats cartoon, which it has recently sold to foreign licencees.

According to Kommersant, quoting Vyacheslav Murugov, CTC Media’s general director, it plans to file 100 lawsuits in the period 2018-19. Since October 31, it has already filed nine against individual entrepreneurs, with the claims varying in size from R40,000 –R60,000 (€524-786).

The first season of Three Cats was broadcast in 2015 and now the cartoon is shown on CTC Media channels, Channel One and VGTRK’s Karusel.

The rights to the second season were sold last month to Viacom, while the Danish publisher Egmont has recently acquired the rights to sell goods under the Three Cats brand in Central and Eastern Europe.

Italian signal interference in Croatia: an update

By Chris Dziadul

The Croatian regulator HAKOM has noted a reduction in Italian interference in Croatian TV signals.

However, interference with FM radio programmes has remained the same, with the emergence of new ones in the T-DAB area.

In a statement, HAKOM says its experts conducted an extensive multi-month action to measure interference coming from Italy. After the shutdown of the most dominant disturbing transmitters in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo and Puglia, the level of TV disturbances was the same as last year.

HAKOM adds that in previous years Italy has passed regulations and a separate law that modify its TV frequency plan and excludes those that disturb neighbouring countries. A compensation fund was also established and all this resulted in the disconnection of the transmitters causing the most interference, starting in September 2016 and completing in January 2017.

This, says HAKOM, was thanks to its long-standing efforts, working withiun the framework of international institutions including the ITU and EC’s Radio Spectrum Management Policy Advisory Group.

Internet overtakes TV advertising in Russia

By Chris Dziadul

The total internet ad spend in Russia in the first three quarters of this year amounted to R141.5 million (€1.84 billion).

According to figures produced by the Association of Communications Agencies (AKA) and published by Vedomosti, this was 22% more than in the same period in 2017.

At the same time, TV revenues increased by 12% to R131 billion and radio revenues by 1% to R11.7 billion and OOH was unchanged at R31.2 billion, of which outdoor accounted for R25.4 billion (+3%). Print advertising over the period fell by 10% to R13 billion.

The ad market as a whole was worth R328 billion in the first nine months of this year, or 13% more than in 2017.

TV ad revenue for 2018 is projected to be 10% higher than last year and to grow by a further 10% in 2019.

TVP English channel launches

By Chris Dziadul

TVP’s new English channel Poland In has officially made its debut.

It was launched on November 11, the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence, and is available as a streaming service on Polandin.com, as well as on YouTube and Facebook.

Commenting on the development, Maciej Stanecki, TVP’s VP, said: “we would like that thanks to us foreigners will be able to discover everything that is most interesting in our country, what we are famous for, what we are proud of and what is new. We want to show Poland, which they probably do not know. As it is in reality. Therefore, when creating a channel schedule, we follow the slogan ‘The best of Poland’.

“The intention of its creators is to journalistically show social phenomena from a certain distance. In a legible way for English-speaking audiences, not included in the daily, current topics of the country.”

He added: “The internet portal Polandin.com will be an integral part of the channel. Since the launch of the Poland In English service in spring, we have been asked by our colleagues from the EBU about the possibility of programme exchange between English-speaking channels in Europe. Now we can fully join in international cooperation by providing high-quality information materials about our country. Our plans for 2019 include the launch of a mobile app and extending the channel’s streaming servioce to satellite”.

UPC Polska tops 3m RGUs

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s leading cable operator UPC Polska gained 15,700 RGUs in the third quarter, ending September with a total of 3,010,200.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,430,900 customers used its services, and of these, 1,1153,500 opted for internet, 1,033,100 digital TV and 643,900 telephony.

Its average internet speed in Q3 was 180Mbps, while the number of customers subscribing to 500Mbps increased 20-fold in the year to September 30.

UPC Polska also had over 545,000 customers for Connect Box, or 245,000 more than a year earlier, and 610,000 for Horizon, 190,000 more than in Q3 2017.

A total of 3,430,800 homes could receive its services, with 22,400 being added to the total in Q3.

Czech regulator approves teleshopping channel, acts against AMC

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech Radio and TV Council (RRTV) have granted FBC Media a licence to operate a 24-hour teleshopping channel.

In a summary, the regulator says the licence for the channel, named Galerie, is for a period of 12 years and applies to regional terrestrial broadcasting on Network 7, as specified by the Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU).

The RRTV has also launched an administrative procedure to withdraw licences for the channels Sport4 Czechia and Slovakia, Sundance TV FR and SportM.

They are held by AMC Networks Central Europe, which has failed to launch the channels 360 days after being granted the licences.

AMC has now ben given a time limit of 15 days from the start of the procedure to launch the channels.

Cyfrowy Polsat buoyant despite profit fall

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat ended Q3 with 5 million pay-TV contract RGUs, or over 100,000 more than in the same period last year.

Its contract RGU service total, for pay-TV, internet and mobile telephony, amounted to 14.06 million, a 4% increase on Q3 2017.

In its latest results, the company notes that the pay-TV RGU increase was largely down to the multiroom and paid OTT effect.

Meanwhile, its contract ARPU, according to IFRS 15, rose by 4.3% year-on-year to PLN84 (€19.6) in Q3.

At the same time, the company’s prepaid base amounted to 2.79 million services in Q3 (2.88 million a year earlier), with ARPU at PLN20.8 (PLN20.2).

Cyfrowy Polsat, including Netia, had revenues of PLN2,735 million in Q3, or 16% more than in the corresponding period last year. Its EBITDA was 34% higher at PLN920 million.

Its net profit was PLN227.1million, down from PLN234.9 million a year earlier.

Cyfrowy Polsat is the leading provider of pay-TV services in Poland and one of the country’s leading telcos.

Magyar Telekom grows TV business

By Chris Dziadul

The Hungarian incumbent saw a 4.9% increase in TV customers in its home market in the year to September 30.

As of the end of Q3, the total stood at 1,065,746. Although TV ARPU fell by 1.8% to HUF3,416 (€10.62) over the same period, this was offset by a 2.5% year-on-year increase in TV revenues, which amounted to HUF10.807 million in Q3.

Meanwhile, in Macedonia Magyar Telekom’s subsidiary ended Q3 with 124.113 TV customers, or 8.7% more than a year earlier. TV revenues, at HUF1,035 million in Q3, where 20.6% higher than a year earlier.

The Magyar Telekom Group as a whole had revenues of HUF163,797 million in Q3 (+5.4%), with EBITDA at HUF53,596 million (-6.3%). Its net loss, at HUF5,297 million, was a 1.8% improvement on Q3 2017.

In his comments on the results, Tibor Rékasi, the company’s CEO the company is maintaining a strong focus on its fixed network and is working to achieve its goal of extending fibre coverage to an additional 300,000 households in 2018. Its overall long-term plan is to offer gigabit internet connectivity across the whole of Hungary.

He also revealed that a fifth of the household it provides services to are now Magenta1 subscribers.

Tough times for Telekom Romania

By Chris Dziadul

Telekom Romania had a challenging third quarter, while its parent company OTE’s recovery gathered momentum.

Results published by OTE show that Telekom Romania ended Q3 with 1,453,526 TV customers, or 1.4% fewer than a year earlier. Meanwhile its revenues, at €226.7 million, were 5.3% down on Q3 2017, with adjusted EBITDA 4.2% lower at €41.2 million.

In OTE’s home market Greece the number of Cosmote TV subscribers at the end of Q3 stood at 534,093, or 3.3% more than a year earlier.

The company’s revenues in Q3 amounted to €754.4 million (+1.9%) and adjusted EBITDA €320.6 million (+5.7%).

The OTE Group as a whole had revenues of €991.5 million in Q3, virtually unchanged on a year earlier.

Its adjusted EBITDA was €365.2 million (+4.7%) and profit €119.3 million (+127.7%).

Major setback for Polish cable market

By Chris Dziadul

The proposed acquisition of Poland’s third largest cable operator Multimedia Polska by the second Vectra will now not happen.

In a release made available to local media and published by Satkurier, Multimedia Polska said: “In reference to information from August 28 this year concerning the potential sale of 100% of Multimedia’s shares to Vectra S.A. we would like to inform you that the exclusivity period for Vectra to determine key terms and to conclude a preliminary share sale has expired. After analysing the market and transaction risks related to the planned sale of 100% of Multimedia Polska shares to Vectra, the majority shareholders and the company’s management have decided today not to renew the exclusivity period and withdraw from the planned transaction”.

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, Vectra filed a notification with the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) on August 27 notifying it of its intention to become the sole owner of Multimedia Polska.

The two parties said that they had signed a term sheet setting out the conditions for Vectra’s acquisition of 100% of Multimedia Polska. They added that they were negotiating the provisions of the preliminary share purchase agreement, subject to the consent of the president of the UOKiK to carry out the concentration.

The latest development marks the second major setback for consolidation in the Polish cable market in 2018. Earlier this year UPC Polska withdrew its offer to buy Multimedia Polska after concluding it could not address the UOKiK’s competition concerns related to the proposed acquisition.

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