Eastern European TV revenues set to quadrupule

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LONDON--Eastern European subscription TV and advertising revenues are forecast to reach $16.4 billion in 2010, up from $3.5 billion in 1999, according to a new report released by Baskerville Communications Corp.

Russia, Poland and the former Soviet Union republics (Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and the Ukraine) will account for 78% of the region's total advertising market, according to the report, called Eastern European Television.

International TV players view Eastern Europe as virgin territory with much potential in spite of the economic and political turmoil facing the region as it grapples with free market policies, says the report.

Several countries in the region are planning to deregulate their telecom sector in the next three to four years, in accordance with EU policy, giving cable operators access to an extremely lucrative new revenue stream.

The number of homes receiving cable and satellite services is expected to double between 1999 and 2010 to nearly 35 million homes, with Russia and Poland accounting for nearly half the 2010 total.

By 2010, almost a third of Eastern European TV households are forecast to subscribe to TV services, triple the 1995 figure and double the 1999 estimate. By 2010, four territories are likely to have more than 50% subscription TV penetration.

TV revenues are forecast to rise in the region to $7.3 billion by 2010, more than five times the 1999 figure, with Russia and Poland taking 61% of the region's revenues. The latter countries are the only ones considered large enough to be able to sustain digital DTH platforms with an adequate proportion of local programming. Both these countries will have about 1.6 million DTH subscribers by 2010.

Net TV advertising revenues are expected to more than quadruple between 1999 and 2010 to $9 billion, in spite of the expected 11% decline in Russia this year as a result of the current economic crisis.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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