Modern Times to bow Baltic pay TV service

TV1000 launched in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

AMSTERDAM — Modern Times Group (MTG), in another move to pump up its holdings in the Baltic States, says it will launch its pay TV service TV1000 into Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on or about Oct. 1.

MTG, which has a chain of free and pay TV channels that stretches across the Nordic territories, was the first Scandinavian commercial TV company to move into the Baltic states. It now has one channel in Estonia and another in Lithuania, both part of MTG’s TV3 satellite cable network.

Several months ago MTG launched Z-TV to its Baltic States outlets, beefing up its TV3 daytime skeds by running the youth and music programming until 5 p.m., when TV3’s evening scheduling began to kick in.

Now Viasat, the pay TV arm of MTG, has inked exclusive deals with Baltcom and Levicom, the two leading cable distributors in the region, to carry TV1000.

The deal gives Viasat more than a 50% share of the cable TV market in the Baltic states and also guarantees that no other competing pay TV channels will be let on the system by Baltcom and Levicom for a period of around two years, Viasat CEO Hans Holger Albrecht told Daily Variety.

Canal Plus is MTG’s competitor in the Nordic territories, but it has no presence in the Baltic States.

Per the terms of the deal, each country will receive its own channel with a slate of movie, documentary, sports and erotic programming that runs for 12 hours, beginning at 3 p.m. A Russian-language strand will also be offered. Subscriptions will initially be $8 $10 a month.