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Romania hits pay-TV saturation

December 20, 2010

By Chris Forrester

Romania now has more than 80 per cent of its homes subscribing to pay-TV, representing some 5.8 millon subs. Yet there’s still massive competition in the marketplace helped by a national decision to postpone analogue switch-off to 2015, which has also delayed the adoption of DTT in the country and as a consequence helped boost DTH take-up.

Five satellite operators are still slugging it out for viewer loyalty, as well two large MSOs RCS/RDS and UPC cable (which is also active in DTH) plus another 500 or so smaller cable operators, says a new report from Screen Digest, highlighting the fact that this extra-tough competition plus local economic hardship results in ARPU being amongst the lowest in the region.

But low ARPU and squeezed margins makes for mediocre profits. One satellite operator, DTH Television Group’s Boom TV, admits financial problems and is seeking a fresh investor, says Screen Digest.

Lack of capital has also meant cable’s digitisation has been slower to roll-out than planned. By the end of June 2010 only about 10 per cent of total cable homes had digital TV.

Currently, says Screen Digest, two satellite broadcasters control more than 80 per cent of the DTH business, DigiTV and Dolce. DigiTV is backed by cable operator RCS/RDS, while Dolce is financed by telco Romtelecom.

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