Territory report: Czech Republic

Big buyer dominates stormy Czech biz

PRAGUE — While commercial and public TV in the Czech Republic has been in turmoil for the past few years — legal squabbles, frequent management shakeouts and questions over just who owns what among the problems — acquisitions has become increasingly dominated by one player: AQS.

The company is the exclusive buyer for commercial channels Nova and Prima, and over the past year has started purchasing panterritorial rights for Slovakia and, occasionally, Hungary.

“It means tougher buying for us,” says Czech TV acquisitions head Jan Rubes, who has resisted dealing with AQS, as has TV3, the youngest of the private nets.

After the strikes at Czech TV at Christmas, the pubcaster is still trying to regain its footing, with a new director general to be elected this month. That uncertainty makes decisions for future scheduling a challenge for Rubes’ team.

Meanwhile, look for AQS to expand even further as it moves into negotiations for theatrical, video and TV rights for all of Eastern Europe. New Line, Miramax and Franchise are already in the AQS stable, along with all the Hollywood majors.

Czech Republic
TV homes:3.8 million

Cable homes:850,000

Local programming:45%

Top show:Czech version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” on Nova (73% share)

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