Broadcasters Corner: Jan Andrusko CEO, TV Nova
Owned by Central European Media Enterprises (CME), a major media company in Eastern Europe, TV Nova is one of the largest commercial broadcasters in the Czech Republic, a vibrant digital TV market. Jan Andrusko, CEO, TV Nova, talks about the digital TV landscape in the Czech Republic.
VIA SATELLITE: How do you assess the satellite market in the Czech Republic?
Andrusko: There was an opportunity for satellite to grow during the digitization process in the country; I think it did make some progress during this time. Currently, satellite has maintained its position, but I don’t think it will grow significantly.
VIA SATELLITE: What major infrastructure projects is TV Nova working on? What technologies are you looking to implement in your broadcast systems over the next 12 months?
Andrusko: We have launched our own SVOD platform, Voyo, which offers our subscribers more than 1,100 movie titles, many series, as well as our own productions. As a part of Voyo, we also distribute several linear channels, including Voyo Cinema and Nova Sport, our exclusive sports channel. We are looking to extend Voyo to all potential platforms, such as tablet devices, smart TV’s, etc.
VIA SATELLITE: What trends do you see emerging in broadcasting in the Czech Republic over the next year?
Andrusko: As the digitization process is over, there are still some spaces in the terrestrial multiplexes and we may see new FTA channels launched this year. It is possible that there will be more pay-TV channels brought to the market.
One of the big threats to our SVOD business is piracy. Many movies and exclusive content are available on pirate sites in the Czech Republic, and this has a huge impact on the business. We are working on a strategy to counter this, but it is a global issue. However, some people have got used to having this content for free, so it will difficult to get them to start paying for it.
VIA SATELLITE: Where are you in terms of your HD strategy? Is everything now being produced in HD? Could you tell us how you handled the transition from SD to HD?
Andrusko: We had the first central HD news system in Central Europe back in 2007. We started to transmit HD that year and the whole complete transition was finalized last year. We are still missing one device: the HD OB Van, which is in the budget. Other than that, the transition to HD is almost complete.
VIA SATELLITE: Are you looking at 3-D TV and Ultra HD?
Andrusko: We definitely have to be in line with all the technological developments. We are working on a 3-D project, but I am not in a position to say when it will be in full operation. In terms of the technical projects over the next 12 months, the priority is to extend our fiber optic infrastructure, and also we want to upgrade to a whole new broadcast system. I doubt you will see us do a 3-D broadcast this year. As we have seen with HD, it can be a big improvement; I am expecting similar developments with 3-D TV at this point.
VIA SATELLITE: What do you see as the state of the Czech media and broadcast market right now?
Andrusko: CME is in six markets: the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. In all six countries, we have leading TV stations, but currently the Czech Republic is playing the dominant role. The market in the Czech Republic was significantly influenced by the digitization process, which was completed in 2011. The digitalization opened the space for new TV stations. It should be noted that terrestrial platform is historically very strong in the Czech Republic. Its penetration used to be around 85 percent of households before the digitalization, now it is still over 55 percent. As I said, the digitalization process brought opportunity for current broadcasters to extend their portfolios of FTA channels while we also see new players coming to the market.
VIA SATELLITE: What impact is Over The Top (OTT) broadcasting and streaming technologies having for traditional broadcasting?
Andrusko: You can see the impact almost everywhere. FTA and traditional TV are still very strong in the Czech Republic. However, as a leader of the market, we implement our principal strategy, which is “One content, multiple distribution.” Under such a strategy, we try to distribute our content via all available distribution means. We have successfully launched Voyo, which offers unlimited consumption of own content, movies and series and channels like NOVA Sport for single monthly price. The service is now available on multiple devices. We definitely have to look around and keep up to speed with all the different technologies.
VIA SATELLITE: What is the business case like now for TV Nova? Traditional advertising revenues are eroding? How do you counter that?
Andrusko: There are two ways to increase the revenue potential for our business. We work on the multi-channel portfolio, which is competing in the advertising market. By using multiple channels, we want to increase our share of the TV market. That is definitely one of the biggest priorities. As a leader in the market, however, we definitely need to look at the paid platforms. We have two pay linear channels at this point. We have a localized version of MTV and an exclusive sports channel, and we are working on a handful of channels to be launched in the pay-TV space.