In the September edition of Via Satellite, we have an in-depth article looking at the European broadcast landscape. Here, in an extra, bonus article, we turn our attention to Central and Eastern Europe and look at the broadcast dynamics here and the role that satellite players can play in the emerging region for satellite TV. The article is part of a new Via Satellite extra series.
Central and Eastern Europe is seeing some very interesting dynamics in terms of broadcasting. It is host to some extremely large and lucrative markets such as Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Poland. In markets such as Romania and Poland, there are now multiple DTH platforms meaning it is a vibrant market for satellite players. For example, Poland has a population of close to 40 million people, and already has three established DTH platforms, Cyfra+ Cyfrowy, Polsat and ‘N’. Russia has a population of over 140 million people, making it Europe’s single largest market and a potentially great opportunity for satellite players in the broadcast arena. Ukraine has a population of close to 50 million people and over the last year, players such as Vision TV and Poverkhnost are looking to tap into the satellite pay-TV market here. Even a country like Romania, which has a population of a little over 20 million people, contains numerous DTH platforms with players such as the incumbent telco, RomTelecom active participants in the DTH market here. Everywhere you look in the region, satellite is prevalent in the broadcasting market, with interesting strategies across different markets.”
One of the new platforms that launched this year was Vision TV, a new DTH platform in Ukraine. Rich Caproni, Vision TV general director, believes the opportunity in this market is “enormous” for the platform. He said, “The growth potential is enormous. You have over 17 million households in Ukraine and not many TV options for the population. According to the cable union, there are around seven million households in the area of cable networks leaving at least 10 million whose options are very limited. So, there is a huge opportunity for satellite. Our positioning is not to come in as an exclusive service, or as a premium service, but to target middle class Ukrainian households, which is a much wider target market but still a limited number of people due to the economic situation in the country.”
In terms of why Ukraine is well-suited to satellite, Caproni added, “Ukraine is an extremely difficult working environment. The country has a long way to go in terms of implementing and enforcing a proper market economy infrastructure. That environment itself is likely to slow things down as it has slowed down development of just about every other sector in the country. But, when it comes down to it, a market of this size is exciting. There is huge potential for new subscribers, probably the biggest in Europe.”