More DTT woes for Bulgaria

August 12, 2013 11.38 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

btv-bulgariaViewers of digital terrestrial services in Bulgaria face the prospect of being offered only a limited number of channels.

Quoted by Capital, Veselin Bozhkov, the head of the regulator CRC, said that although the country will have seven multiplexes and that each can carry 8-10 channels, to date only seven out of 11 channels have been ‘uploaded’ in what is the first stage of the digisation process.

In fact, there is no law that requires broadcasters to upload programmes to a multiplex – such a law would in any case be anti-market and is unlikely to be passed – and those that wish to do so face many difficulties.

At present, only five channels – bTV, Nova TV, TV7, News7 and Bulgaria on Air – are required to be distributed via DTT.

There is a long-running dispute between between Bulgaria and the EC over the award of DTT multiplex licences, with the latter now expected to launch criminal proceedings against the country in September.

Earlier this summer, Broadband TV News was told by industry sources in Bulgaria that the initial DTT offer would consist of 7-8 commercial channels, plus services from the public broadcaster BNT.

They were also of the view that DTT is also likley to have a only minimal impact on the Bulgarian market, which already has a pay-TV penetration of around 85%.