Low prices in CEE countries could threaten pay TV model

Very low prices in some central and eastern European markets, including Romania, could threaten the long term viability of pay TV, according to Ian McDonough, senior vice-president and general manager, EMEA at BBC Worldwide Channels.

Speaking on a panel session at Informa’s Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe conference, McDonough said: “Prices in Romania are too low to sustain pay TV and premium brands might no longer, in the long term, be in the market.”

Speaking on the same panel, Tariq Syed, managing director, CEE at Universal Networks International, said that consolidation amongst operators could have a negative impact on pricing for channels. “Prices could come down generally, but you need to continue to be able to invest in content,” he said.

However, Syed said that HD services could help boost prices and act as a retention tool for operators, as was already the case in Poland.

Earlier, Mirek Smyk Consulting Group (MSCG) founder and former Romtelecom executive Mirek Smyk told the conference that the rollout of digital-terrestrial TV combined with increased viewing of over-the-top video could present a serious threat to pay TV services in the region, with MSCG research showing that online viewing was growing strongly in markets including Romania.

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