Eastern Europe upgrading swiftly to digital TV


    Eastern Europe is making great strides in the upgrade to digital television, according to a new report by the London-based research company Informa Telecoms & Media, which predicts the number of households in the region with digital TV will rise nearly fivefold within six years.

    The report, titled "Eastern European Television (11th edition)," finds that digital satellite leads the way, with cable making slower progress towards digital conversion. But it predicts the need to compete with IPTV and cable consolidation in countries such as the Czech Republic and Bulgaria will help drive cable conversion levels. While Russia currently trails Poland in terms of digital subscriber numbers, it is expected to take the lead by 2010.

    "Several countries are becoming increasingly visible on the radar of international TV investors and I expect to see several major acquisitions and consolidations over the next few years," said Adam Thomas, Informa's media research manager and the report's author. "While high-profile markets such as Poland and the Czech Republic continue to exhibit impressive progress, other countries such as Slovakia are also now catching the eye."

    The 200-page report was published in advance of a conference in Prague Sept. 18-19 on digital TV in Central and Eastern Europe.