Bulgarian DTT: the true cost

May 12, 2014 07.20 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

The public broadcaster BNT appears to have been the biggest loser – at least financially – in Bulgaria’s transition to digital broadcasting.
Capital reports that BTN is currently distributing three of its channels, namely BNT 1, BNT 2 and BNT 3, on a multiplex operated by Digital First, the trading name for NURTS Digital, which is believed to have links with the banker Tsvetan Vassilev.

It adds, however, that it is publicly known that NURTS Digital cannot fill the multiplex and the project is unprofitable.

What is more, BNT is paying Digital First around BGN15 million (€7.6 million) a year, rather than the BGN8 million it previously paid for the analogue distribution of its channels.

BNT’s entire budget for this year is BGN65 million, or BGN5 million less than in 2013.

It is also deprived of income from cable and DTH operators, which do not have to pay for the distribution of its channels.

The public broadcaster says that digitisation is the responsibility of the state and it should provide help to BNT.

At present, 13.9% of homes in Bulgaria watch terrestrial TV services.