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 2015, it was officially announced that the top TV broadcasters are: Pro TV, Antena 1, Kanal D, Romania TV, Realitatea TV, TVR 1, Acasă TV, Prima TV and Antena 3.[2]

Terrestrial television[edit]

Romania terminated analogue broadcasting, officially on 17 June 2015. It is being implemented in DVB-T2 technology, although only tests are being made at the present date. In Bucharest and Sibiu, there are still channels available in DVB-T MPEG4, for an undetermined period of time. In Bucharest, the following channels and multiplexes are being used : CH30 for DVB-T2, with TVR1, TVR2, TVR-INFO, TVR HD. CH54 and CH59 for DVB-T, with TVR1, TVR2, TVR3, TVR-INFO, TVR HD, Kanal D, Antena 3 . However, due to an agreement, TVR1 will continue to broadcast analogue until 31 December 2016, in order to allow people to accommodate the new technology, and because of limited coverage. The rest of analogue broadcasts were shut down. However, many terrestrial users, will migrate towards cable TV and digital satellite. Currently, all digital terrestrial broadcasts available, are Free-to-air.

On 2 July 2015, Kanal D Romania left terrestrial platform. TVR announced that the number of own channels will be reduced, by closing TVR News since 1 August 2015 and probably and TVR 3 probably because of lower audience. The fate of TVR HD, one of TVR's most watched channel after TVR 1 and TVR 2, is unknown. This will lower the number of available channels on terrestrial platform. Beside TVR channels, only Antena 3 is still available, but unknown for how long, and whether it will remain in DVB-T, will shift to DVB-T2, or completely leave terrestrial platform. The absence and lack of implementation of DVB-T in Romania is somehow controversial, as many people are suspecting that this delay and the adoption of DVB-T2 is forced just to sustain the interest of cable and DTH providers, also the lack of interest of the must carry broadcasters in providing channels in terrestrial is very criticized, however the main DVB-T operator in Romania is SNR, which is said to be responsible for this.

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% ( and after analogue terrestrial switch off even lower) being attributed to terrestrial analogue television. Digital satellite DTH is provided by a number of companies. Terrestrial television started officially in 17 June 2015, but with low coverage, therefore many people subscribed to cable or DTH .

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 the 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. However, beside RCD RDS and UPC, there are many other smaller CATV providers in Romania, operating locally or regionally. In the last years, all of them began providing internet access, to make their offer more attractive and increase their appeal to their customers already subscribed to CATV service. Also many of them, although analogue cable TV is their basic offer (in fact, all cable TV providers in Romania are still offering this service), lately many, even small operators, began implementing successfully digital cable television (DVB-C) with SD and HD channels, providing receivers, CAM or delivering the content unencrypted for basic offer and some extra channels ( up to 100 channels unencrypted, or even more).

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 also attractive because today, all CATV operators in Romania are also providing internet access at various speeds ( ranging from 20 MBPS - to 1000 MBPS - depending on the provider and region), in many cases subscribers are contracting an internet + TV package, at a fairly low price (as low as 50 lei/month or even less for "NET and CATV" for a basic package - depending on the provider). Internet access is, in many cases, granted by cable TV operators, as it was cheaper to implement it over the existent CATV networks in some cases. Cable Television is offered both in analogue format ( with up to 70 channels - depending on the provider and region) by all operators around the country and digital format ( up to 160 channels - depending on the provider and region) by some 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.

Satellite television[edit]

After the cable subscriptions, satellite subscriptions are on the second place, and are mainly popular in rural areas, were cable television and optical fiber networks are not widely available. The main operators are : DIGI TV operated by RCS&RDS , Focus Sat operated by UPC Romania ( which was the first DTH platform in Romania), Free Sat, DOLCE operated by Romtelecom, and Orange TV operated by Orange Romania. All providers are offering SD and HD broadcasts. Except Free Sat and Orange TV which are using exclusively DVB-S2 both for SD and HD channels, all of them are using DVB-S for SD, and DVB-S2 for SD and HD. Focus Sat and FreeSat can be also used with a CAM and a Smartcard fitted directly in a TV set with DVB-S ( only SD broadcasts, only Focus Sat) or DVB-S2 ( for SD & HD backward compatibility in case of Focus Sat, both SD and HD for FreeSat). However, not all channels available on cable or IPTV are available on satellite, this applies to all satellite providers which are also offering cable or iptv . Sometimes, on satellite, other channels may be available than on the cable platform. Defunct DTH Platforms are : Boom TV and AKTA Satelit , which were acquired by Romtelecom , today TELEKOM.

IPTV[edit]

IP Television in Romania is not very popular. It is however more popular than terrestrial television, but way behind cable and satellite television. It is popular in business (companies, corporations etc.) sector rather than consumer. It is provided by Telekom ( formerly Romtelecom) , INES ( an internet, IPTV and internet provider). RCS RDS tried unsuccessfully to implement IPTV but eventually gave up this service in favor of CATV and satellite TV. It is believed that this service is renegaded because the need of an extra reception equipment ( set top box) ,because it is more expensive than cable TV and because at the same number of channels and because it may affect the quality of internet service, as the infrastructure is not the same in all regions of Romania. In some cases it may work well, but in other cases it may be an unreliable service, which affects the internet service (also the internet service may affect the IPTV service), due to network architecture (old networks or not updated networks) .

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
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
Sport.ro 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 HD: channel in high definition.
Private TV networks

See also[edit]

References[edit]