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The announced launch of a Czech MTV channel in the first half of 2009 brings the first uniquely Czech iteration of the iconic music and pop culture network. However, it will face off against a homegrown version that is scrambling to hold on to its significant market share of 1.5 million viewers through cable and internet programming.
Óčko, owned by MAFRA and on the air for six years, reversed a decision announced several weeks ago not to pursue a digital broadcast license, as reported in the daily E15 Sept. 22. After TV Nova announced its franchise deal with MTV, Óčko says it will submit an application to go digital to reassure advertisers and cement its place on the market.
”[Getting the license] should be a signal to the media and advertising markets that we are able to meet all technical and financial criteria connected with this license,” said Director Jiří Balvín, prompting speculation in the Czech press that the reversal is directly linked to the MTV announcement.
A digital Óčko broadcast would be the third digital station of six that can receive the license. News Channel Z1 began digital broadcasting in June and TV Barrandov will launch its own as of January 2009.
Óčko is the fourth-most watched television channel in the Czech Republic, but MTV’s franchisee, TV Nova, the Czech TV operation of Central European Media Enterprises, is the market leader.
The Czech audience has already had a version of MTV through the English-language network MTV European, but Bhavneet Singh, MTV’s managing director and executive vice president of emerging markets said the company has been studying the market for two years in order to launch programming in Czech that caters to local tastes. Part of that strategy includes a diversified delivery of content through broadband, digital and Internet — an ostensibly strong motivator for Óčko’s digital application.
“We don’t have viewers any more, we have users,” Singh said. “It’s very important that we’re front and center across each and every platform that our user is interfacing with to get our content. Most of our markets have a very strong online and mobile presence and whether it will be like that in the Czech Republic straight off the bat is exactly what is being explored right now.”
The success of MTV Czech, which will also be broadcast in Slovakia, will function as a barometer for the likely expansion of other MTV parent-company Viacom’s brands, including Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Poland already has a localized version of both those brands and Hungary will get a Comedy Central channel soon, Singh said.
Name: PatrikM., 27.9.2008 19:29:30
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