Poland is to get an expanded DTT offer next year with new movie, education, documentary and kids' channels after the broadcasting regulator, KRRiT, called a tender for four places on the country's multiplex 1. The capacity will be freed by a reshuffle of TVP channels, scheduled for 28th April 2014, with the public broadcaster relying on its duplicate feeds on multiplex 3 and switching off its channels on multiplex 1. According to the conditions of the tender, the licenses will be awarded for ten years to SD channels from the genres: society-religion, movies, education-documentary, and children (4-12 years old).
The regulator is asking for applications by 25th February 2013. Four private stations on multiplex 1--Eska TV, Polo TV, TTN, and ATM Rozrywka--will remain. The multiplex currently covers about 95 per cent of Poland's homes. Poland's multiplex 2 covering about 94 per cent of households, carries eight commercial stations, representing the country's major TV groups: TVN, Polsat, TV Puls and TV 4 (the last owned by Polsat). TVP's multiplex 3, broadcasting six channels from TVP (including TVP 2 HD), has limited coverage (about 15 per cent of total homes), although this will be extended after analogue switch-off (ASO) in July 2013 (it is planned that it will reach 98 per cent of the population by April 2014). There are no current plans to launch more multiplexes, but operator Emitel has started testing DVB-T2 technology to free up more capacity.
Multiplex 1 launched in Poland at the end of 2009, however, due to TVP failing to fulfil the conditions of the public tender, the multiplex initially provided only commercial channels. TVP channels: TVP 1, TVP 2, and TVP Info launched officially in 2010. TVP 1 was later replaced by the channel's HD version. In November 2012 Poland started analogue switch-off with analogue signals ending in a few regions in the country. Analogue switch-off will be continued gradually on a region-by-region basis with completion scheduled for July 2013.
The delayed DTT launch means penetration of DTT on primary TV sets in Poland is currently relatively low, reaching about eight per cent of total homes. The DTT channels may however get a much higher penetration on secondary TV sets as a number of pay TV players make the DTT channels available to their subscribers. After the expansion, the DTT offer in Poland will comprise 22 channels from a wide range of genres, missing only lifestyle and a dedicated sports channel. TVP Sport is likely to be retained as a pay only channel.
The cost of simulcasting in analogue and digital has taken its toll on TVP, which is expected to report a loss of about €20m for 2012. During the year it also spent heavily on rights for the European cup in football, while the avoidance of TV license fee reached a record 60 per cent of homes.