Nick inks Hungarian deal

Channel to reach 1 million Magyar households

BUDAPEST — Magyar youngsters will soon be able to tune into a Hungarian language version of the Nickelodeon network after the U.S. kids channel sealed an exclusive programming deal last week with Central European cabler the Hungarian Broadcast Corp. (HBC).

HBC would not disclose the price of the deal, but analysts expect Nickelodeon to be compensated according to the number of subscribers Nickelodeon Hungary can generate after its official launch in September.

For the present, the network will not market itself as a pay channel and will be available for a basic cable subscription fee. But analysts expect HBC will consider offering Nickelodeon on a pay platform if all goes well.

The new kids network will air over the MSAT cable network, currently a general entertainment channel which reaches about 1 million households via cable and MMDS transmission in a territory of 3.7 million total TV homes and cable penetration of about 40%.

Nickelodeon Hungary will air translated versions of U.S. programming obtained from the parent service for about eight hours a day; HBC has permission to produce its own local programming to fill the remainder of the lineup.

HBC, officially based in the U.S. and listed on the Nasdaq, is reportedly in talks to transform its second Hungarian cable network, Sziv TV (“Heart TV”), into a localized version of the Sundance Channel, the U.S. cable net for independent filmmakers. (Sziv TV currently transmits to about 800,000 households nationwide via satellite link to cable headends.)