Advertising revenue growth prompts Comedy Central launch in Hungary

By Laszlo Kriston

    Entertainment channel Comedy Central (www.comedycentral.com), part of the Viacom media conglomerate (www.viacom.com) is expanding its reach in Eastern Europe with a launch in Hungary.

    Rising advertising revenue in the Hungarian television industry, at a 7.7% annual growth rate, has prompted MTV Networks International (MTVNI, www.mtv.com/mtvinternational) to launch Comedy Central in October, making it accessible for about 1.5 million households in Hungary via cable and satellite. The channel will offer animation comedy shows such as South Park and The Simpsons with Hungarian dubbing. Targeted at the 18-39 age group, the local subsidiary, MTV Networks Magyarorszag (or MTVNM, www.mtv.co.hu) will also produce original programming starring Hungarian comedians as early as October.

    In 2007, the overall television advertising revenue reached €300 million (HUF70.12 billion) the Hungarian Association of Broadcasters (MEME) stated. Radio-broadcasted television channels (consisting of both state and commercials ones, such as m1, m2, TV2, RTL Klub) took in a larger share, some of €255 million, while the remaining market players, mostly premium price cable channels, received €43 million in advertising revenues. The survey, compiled by Ernst & Young (www.ey.com), takes 29 television brands into account, and has been published annualy by MEME since 2005.

    At peak times, the state broadcaster's monthly advertising revenue triples, rising up to €2.7 million, as happened in June, Magyar Televizio (www.mtv.hu) stated, when sales were boosted by the UEFA Euro Championship, broadcast by public channel, m1.

    Music Television switched to local language service last October. The same month, MTV Networks Magyarorszag also launched a sales house to handle advertising for other specialized channels than its own, most notably the documentary channel Spektrum (www.spektrumtv.hu).