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Theme channels all the rage

Territory report: Poland

WARSAW — This autumn has offered a bumper crop of new mostly themed channels in Poland. Calculations put the number of Polish-language channels hitting 70 quite soon.

The private TVN, which in addition to flagship TVN broadcasts on TVN7, TVN Meteo and news-only TVN24, plans to launch ITVN (targeting Polish ex-pats) as well as a channel dedicated to fashion and beauty.

The other private TV station, Polsat, plans to launch Moto Polsat.

New announced channels include AXN (action movies), HBO Spectrum and Zone Vision. Another movie channel — the Kino Polska — will feature purely Polish fare.

Most of these channels will be available solely on cable.

Cable operators are saying they might have some temporary problems with network capacity, but that the transfer to digital transmission will overcome these issues.

Many TV experts are saying theme channels are the future, yet the position of public TV continues to be unassailable.

In the first half-year its three channels (TVP1, TVP2, TVP3) gobbled up 52% of the audience.

Polsat’s share fell by 3% but remained the second largest, with over 20% of the market. Third place went to TVN.

The fight for viewership will be renewed as fall turns into winter. It appears that the public stations wish to compete chiefly with their own locally produced shows.

TVP will continue to produce its soaps and sitcoms, with unabated popularity, often reaching 20% viewership. Top skeins include “For Good and Bad,” “L Like Love,” “Family,” “Zlotopolscy,” “Plebania” and “Lokatorzy.”

Polsat is putting its money on the homegrown “Pub” reality show and “Idol,” a local spin on “American Idol.”

Programming directors show great constraint when asked about new purchases of formats and series, saying that they are waiting for the market to pick up, and have things in reserve from previous years’ shopping.

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