Bulgaria’s TV Industry - More than Meets the Eye
By Chris Dziadul
Broadband TV News
There’s more to the TV industry in Bulgaria than meets the eye.
Going by recent coverage, one might be forgiven for thinking it is inundated with problems.
The long-running dispute with the European Commission over the controversial award of DTT licences is one that immediately springs to mind, as does that between Bulsatcom and bTV over content earlier this year.
However, despite the many problems facing the industry – most if not all of which are also found in other CEE markets, especially in the Balkan region, it certainly has its upsides. These have been recognised by foreign investors such as CME and MTG, backers of the national commercial broadcasters bTV and Nova respectively, as well as Sweden’s EQT (cable operator Blizoo) and Telekom Austria (M-Tel), all of which have put their money where their mouth is and committed to the market.
As elsewhere in the region, the TV industry in Bulgaria is undergoing rapid change. It is also more developed than many may realise, with pay-TV penetration, for instance, now at around 85%, multiscreen and OTT services on offer and some subscribers able to receive internet access at up to 150Mbps.
As for the problems, well they, too are plentiful, with the biggest one arguably being piracy.
There will certainly be a lot to discuss at the business briefing Broadband TV News will be holding in Sofia on Tuesday, October 1. Organised jointly with Telenor Satellite Broadcasting and taking Digital TV Distribution in Bulgaria as its theme, it already has the confirmed participation of such key local industry players as Bulsatcom, Blizoo, Nova TV, BNT, BACOO and Neterra.
Events such as this offer a rare opportunity to find out first hand about this fascinating market and at the same time network with those key players and others involved or interested in the Bulgarian TV industry.
- » Bulgaria: Bucolic Beauty on the Edge of Europe
- » Sofia, Bulgaria: A Travel Tuesday Of Stately Proportions
- » Ukraine and Bulgaria Show Power of EU Model
- » South Stream Bilateral Deals Breach EU Law, Commission Says
- » One Abortion for Every Two Births in Bulgaria
- » Berlusconi May Have A Cunning Plan To Escape Prosecution In Italy: Running For Election In Bulgaria
One key chnnel not mentioned above is TV Evropa, founded by Emil Stoyanov, was launched in April 2011, and in May of this year was accepted into the European Association of Commercial Television (goo.gl/hyNugw ) a very prestigious organization. TV Evropa has news broadcasts every 30-minutes and certainly helps mold public opinion among its many viewers (estimated at 890,000 goo.gl/zHF9LP ).
Yet the station is clearly a pro-GERB, pro-center-right TV channel, as any analysis of its reporting on domestic politics, its interview programme Pod Lupa, and other features will readily disclose. Emil Stoyanov (younger brother of Petar) was a GERB MP member in 2009. Emil has done great service in popularizing German and Austrian culture and literature in the country, and is one of the outstanding graduates of the German Language High School in Plovdiv. That also accounts for the close association of TV Evropa with Deutsche Welle and Euromaxx.
But too bad this unique news channel has such an explicit center-right political slant and ideological subtext. In some ways it is GERB’s mouthpiece, campaigning against the present government coalition in innumerable subtexts. One constant term hammered home again and again is 'triple coalition,' although there is no such formal coalition in the Parliament. Just compare reportage any evening on domestic affairs: btv, BNT and TV Evropa. A good eye-opening assignment for high school students.