The Ukrainian National Council on Television and Radio has introduced must-carry rules for the country’s cable operators, which will be required to carry a “benefits” package comprising the 32 channels licensed for digital broadcasting.
This will hit analogue cable operators, which only have capacity for around 50 channels to play with, and will now have to provide over half of these free of charge. Currently channels distributed in Ukraine have to pay for their carriage on cable networks, unlike the US and most European countries, apart from Germany.
These cable operators may find it hard to obtain higher fees from the paid channels to compensate for the revenue lost by having to offer 32 channels for free. This is partly because digital terrestrial services are gaining ground in Ukraine, now watched by over 500,000 people. These are offered by operator Zeonbud, which currently has up to 28 channels on four multiplexes (MX1, MX2, MX3 and MX5).