Poland argues over DTT

Polish public service broadcasting in disarray over DTT as well as funding.
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Poland’s National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) has prevented religious-based channel TV Trwam from securing a slot on the country’s first DTT multiplex.

Financial problems continue to dog public service broadcasting in Poland, causing the country’s National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) not to award a license on the country’s first DTT (Digital Terrestrial TV) multiplex to the religious channel TV Trwam. KRRiT has been quoted in the Polish press to the effect that TV Trwam failed to get a DTT license because of its difficult financial situation and anticipated inability to pay an annual distribution fee of PLN10 million (€2.28 million) on the first multiplex.

However, the Lux Veritas Foundation, which operates the Trwam channel, has argued that KRRiT’s decision is a politically-motivated attack on the Roman Catholic Church in Poland, and is leading a campaign to have the channel included in the multiplex. Whether this is correct must be doubtful, given that 88 percent of Poles are Catholic, with well over 50 percent practicing, according to the Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej, the Polish polling institute. But, the financial problems for Poland’s state broadcasting sector are real enough, given that only 1.2 million of the 4.2 million Polish homes with registered ownership of a TV set pay the state license fees. This represents an evasion level of 65 percent, and the situation is probably worse than that, given there are 13 million Polish households altogether. Many of those must be watching TV online or via some other means. This has led to an increasingly severe funding shortfall for Telewizja Polska (TVP), the public broadcaster, which has 10 channels.

Meanwhile DTT licenses in Poland have been awarded to Eska TV, ATM Grupa, for ATM Rozrywka, Stavka (U-TV), and Lemon Records, for Polo TV. TVP will continue to use the first multiplex until Apr. 27, 2014, after which three additional slots will become available on the multiplex, which will soon be opened up to tender.