Vivacom DTH launch unlikely to harm market, says Blizoo chief

The anticipated launch of a new Bulgarian DTH platform by telco Vivacom could benefit the market by educating consumers about the merits of paying a regular contract fee for services, and will have a relatively minor competitive impact on cable operator Blizoo, according to the latter’s CEO Dimitar Radev.

Radev, highlighting the difficulties of operating in Bulgaria at Informa’s Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe conference in Bucharest, said that a bigger threat to cable’s business model was a large number of semi-legal or illegal local operators delivering large packages of TV services bundled in for a basic fee, who also promised subscribers very high headline broadband speeds that often were not matched by reality.

A Vivacom DTH launch would compete with the Total TV Bulgaria DTH services as well as with Blizoo (the company created by the merger of cable operators CableTel and Eurocom). The former ITV Partner service was renamed as Total TV in May, following its acquisition in September last year by Mid Europa Partners, which also owns the Serbian platform of the same name.

Radev said he did not believe Vivacom would be a “serious player” but said it could benefit the market by “bringing greater clarity about contracts” in a market where an unwillingness to pay for services, the availability of pirated content and lack of effective regulation remained serious issues.

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