A&E Channel Set For Bow In East Europe

A new arts-and-entertainment channel will be added to the eastern European remote control on Feb. 1.

The Hungarian cabler KabelKom, owned by Time Warner, US West, and United Intl. Holdings (UIH), announced that it will air a new cable network called Spektrum Televizio.

This channel will offer four hours of specialized programming a day in the areas of history, science and technology, nature, and travel to subscribers within the nine Hungarian cable systems owned by KableKom, and one affiliate cabler in the city of Gyor. The channel will reportedly not be offered to KableKom’s other affiliations unless requested.

According to analysts, launching Spektrum is a bid by the U.S.-owned cabler to exploit the growing sophistication of the Hungarian TV market, and hasten the evolution of the overall cable industry.

“We wanted to offer a channel to subscribers that would really help them feel value in their cable subscriptions,” said Steve Smith, general manager of HBO Hungary, KableKom’s premier network and the first pay TV outlet in the region.

Currently, Hungary’s TV market of almost 4 million households is primarily served by terrestrial tower-to-source broadcasting. The nation’s two countrywide terrestrial broadcasters are the state-owned stations Magyar Televizio (MTV) 1 and MTV 2.

No single cable network in Hungary boasts a national reach. On the other hand, KableKom, via its nine cable systems and those of its affiliates, reach 215,000 households – one-sixteenth of the national market.

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