Television in Romania

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Television in Romania was introduced in August 1955. State television started to broadcast in 1956, on December 31. The second television channel followed in 1968, but between 1985 and 1990, there was only one Romanian channel before the return of the second channel. Private broadcasters arrived in the early 1990s, with Antena 1 being the first private television station in Romania.

According to an article on the Romanian newspaper Adevărul, the top TV broadcasters were (based on the average prime-time number of viewers in Oct-Nov 2007): Pro TV (with 615.000 viewers), TVR1 (451.000), Antena 1 (305.000), OTV (272.000), Acasă TV (247.000), Prima TV (205.000), Realitatea TV (102.000) and Antena 3 (73.000).[1]

In early 2009, it was officially announced that the top TV broadcasters are: Pro TV, Antena 1, OTV, Realitatea TV, TVR 1, Acasă TV, Prima TV and Antena 3.[2]

Cable television[edit]

Romania has very high penetration rates for cable television in Europe, with over 79% of all households watching television through a CATV network in 2007.[3] The market is extremely dynamic, and dominated by two giant companies - Romanian based RCS&RDS and U.S. based UPC-Astral. Both additionally offer IP telephony over coaxial cable and Internet services. The national CATV network is being improved, and most households are being migrated towards digital cable solutions. Digital DTH satellite service is available throughout the country, and accounts for an additional 10-15% of the market, with only about 5% being attributed to terrestrial analogue television. Digital satellite DTH is provided by a number of companies. It is possible that Romania will not migrate to digital terrestrial systems, but completely discontinue this service, since the said investments provide limited appeal.

The reasons for this appeal started in the early '90s. After the fall of the communist regime, in 1989, there was only one state owned TV channel available (see TVR), a second channel being closed in 1985 (see TVR2). Private TV channels were slow to appear, because of lack of experience and high start-up costs (most startups were radio stations or newspapers). Thus, for the first three years, over the air, one would get one or two state channels and one or two local, amateurish private channels, broadcasting only a few hours a day. Atlantic Television, headed by Robin Edwards and Peter Thomas, which included US broadcaster Capital Cities/ABC and Canadian broadcaster CanWest International partnered with TVR, the state broadcaster, to form Canalul 2 Television. Following a move whereby CanWest became the main shareholder and caused upset with TVR, the arrangements sadly fell to pieces, to the consternation of Romanian reformers many of whom believed that Canwest's incompetence set Romanian civil society back ten years. Edwards later sued CanWest International in Barbados and won the case, before suing in Canada where CanWest settled out of court. Both Edwards and Thomas worked successfully at high level in he country for many years, Edwards in a political capacity whilst founding the 100,000 weekly circulation Business Week, Thomas in agriculture. After this many cable[4] companies appeared and thrived, providing 15-20 foreign channels for a very low price (at the time 2 USD or less), some with Romanian translation, offering high quality news, entertainment and especially movies or cartoons (one of the ways cable companies advertised was the availability of a cartoon channel, Cartoon Network, appealing to children, which in turn would appeal to their parents). The first two companies to provide CATV were Multicanal in Bucharest and Timiş Cablu in Timişoara, both out of business today. Many small, startup firms gradually grew, and coverage increased (coverage wars were frequent in the early period, with many cable boxes smashed, and new cable networks offering "half off for twice the channels" and immediately wiring the building for any willing persons).

However, this period soon ended, with consolidation around 1995-1996. Some large companies emerged: Kappa and RCS in Bucharest, Astral in Cluj, UPC in Timişoara, TourImex in Râmnicu Vâlcea. This consolidation came with gentlemen agreements over areas of control and pricing, with claims of monopoly abounding. This process of consolidation was completed around 2005-2006, when only two big suppliers of cable remained: UPC-Astral and RDS. Internet over coaxial cable has been available since around 2000, and IP telephony (over the CATV infrastructure) since the deregulation of the market in 2003. Currently, cable TV is available in most of the country, including most rural areas (where roughly 50% of the population live). Satellite digital TV appeared in 2004, providing coverage for the rest of the country, with both RCS&RDS and UPC-Astral having a stake in these companies. IPTV (over DSL) is also planned by Romtelecom through its TV service (Dolce), after offering Satellite digital DTH TV. However, IPTV will not be much of a competition, since the other two big ISPs are also the two biggest CATV providers.

Cable TV is very cheap for all standards, the standard/basic service, offering about 50 channels, is around 20-30 RON/month including VAT (about 5-7 ), with the most expensive service, offering 10-15 channels more, including some pay-per-view such as HBO or Cinemax, costing no more than 60-70 RON/month (around 14-17 €). Cable Television is offered both in analogue and digital format by all operators around the country. Digital cable is gaining popularity, but also, analogue cable TV remains available, since many people still own older crt TV or older LCD or plasma sets without digital built in tuner . Analogue cable television remains for an undetermined period of time, while analogue terrestrial shutdown is planned for June 2015.

Viewing shares[edit]

Given Romania's extensive cable coverage, many channels receive considerable viewing shares. Pro TV is the most viewed channel. Ratings data is measured by TNS-AGB International (2005–2007) and GfK Romania (2008–2011) on behalf of ARMADATA S.R.L.[5]

Viewing shares in percent 2007 - 2008
Channel 2006 2007 2008
Pro TV 15.6 14.3 12.8
Antena 1 13.4 11.2 9.2
Acasa 7.6 6.8 7.9
TVR1 16.8 11.8 5.1
Realitatea TV 3.7 3.8 4.7
Prima TV 4.2 4.7 4.3
OTV 2.1 3.9 4.0
Kanal D 2.0 4.0
Antena 3 1.3 2.0 2.6
National TV 2.1 2.3 2.6
Cartoon Network 2.4
TVR2 5.3 4.5 2.0
Minimax 1.5 1.7 2.0
Taraf TV 2.0
Etno 1.9
Jetix 1.1 1.2 1.8 1.4 1.8 1.5
Favorit TV 1.0 1.2 1.4
B1 TV 1.4 1.4 1.3
Pro Cinema 1.0 1.3 1.2
Hallmark Channel 0.8 0.9
Antena 2 0.8
Discovery Channel 0.7 0.9 0.7
Eurosport 0.7 0.7
N24 0.7 0.9 0.7
AXN 0.6 0.6 0.6
Kiss TV 0.6 0.6 0.5
National Geographic Channel 0.4 0.5 0.5
Euforia 0.5 0.5

List of channels[edit]

The following is a list of television channels broadcast in Romania.

Public television channels
  • SRTv
    • TVR1: the main channel of the public broadcaster.
    • TVR2: the second channel of the public broadcaster.
    • TVR3: the regional channel of the public broadcaster.
    • TVR Cultural: Now defunct.the former channel focused on culture and cultural events.
    • TVR News: the news channel of the public broadcaster.
Private TV networks

See also[edit]