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[23.08.2006] Digi TV expansion continues

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DTH platforms have a long and fascinating history in Central and Eastern Europe, with the oldest surviving one to date NTV-Plus in Russia having made its debut exactly a decade ago. Although the last three years have seen the launch of several new services, the leading players remain UPC Direct (Hungary, the Czech Republic and Sl**akia), Cyfra+ and Cyfrowy Polsat (Poland), MTGs Viasat (Baltic Republics) and of course NTV-Plus.

Romanias Digi TV, though a relative newcomer, arguably now also falls into this category. Backed by Romania Cable Systems (RCS) and Romania Data Systems (RDS), which along with Astral Telecom/UPC is one of the countrys two leading cable operators, it has gone from strength to strength in its home market, where the subscriber total has more than doubled in the last eight months to 340,000. Just as importantly, it has secured 100,000 subscribers in Hungary since its launch there earlier this year and is also making waves in neighbouring Sl**akia.

Digi TVs success could be one reason why UPC Direct had a disappointing second quarter, with falling subscriber figures reported in all three countries for perhaps the first time. Only in Romania, where UPC operates the DTH platform Focus Sat, was the company able to point to any growth.

The news that Digi TV is now about to enter the Czech Republic will certainly shake up the countrys TV market. Although Liberty Globals recent acquisition of Karneval has placed it in an unassailable position in the cable sector, the competition it will soon face from Digi TV in a hitherto placid DTH market dominated by UPC Direct could prove fierce.

Ultimately, this can only benefit Czech consumers, who from this autumn will be offered not only cable, DTH and DTT but also IPTV services.

Source: http://rdi-sat.com

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