A+E Networks UK to up European localisation efforts

A+E Networks UK is looking to differentiate its European offering with more distinct channel feeds in central Europe, and is also planning to open offices in Poland and Romania.

Speaking to DTVE, Tom Davidson, managing director of A+E Networks UK said that the firm was “very bullish in central Europe” and named Poland and Romania as its two “hotspots” with Hungary close behind.

“We’ve already opened up separate [channel] feeds for Poland and Romania just in the last 12 months; we started in Poland with Crime and Investigation as a separate feed, and then Romania was the first central European separate History feed. We’ll be doing a Polish History feed this fall,” said Davidson.

He said that A+E Networks was also “heavily investigating Hungary” as another potential market for a separate History feed to replace the pan-European version of the channel that already airs in the country.

Davidson added that while A+E Networks UK – the joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB –  does not yet have channels live in Russia, it has “been on our radar for a while.”  He said “we’re in heavy, discussions there,” without giving further details.

Referring to A+E Networks UK’s plans to open offices in Poland and Romania, Davidson said:  “If you think about how we’re structured now, everything is centralised out of London. Of course we have local representatives on the ground, but we want to get closer to our customers and in the markets that have the consumer potential and a large operator base, we want to be sensitive to the culture, we want to be sensitive to the viewing habits, we want to be sensitive to the negotiation styles. We feel that the way to do that is really to have local talent on the ground.”