Polish satcasters merge

New platform to be controlled by Canal Plus

PARIS — Canal Plus and UPC have agreed to merge their Polish satellite platforms Cyfra Plus and Wizja TV, ending years of costly rivalry between the two TV groups.

The move follows similar deals in Italy and the Nordic territories and completes Canal Plus’s 2001 objective to streamline its loss-making international operations.

The combined Polish platform will have 700,000 subscribers, easily surpassing the break-even 500,000 target the two platforms were unable to achieve on their own. Each had roughly 350,000 subs.

The new company, called TKP, will be managed and controlled by Canal Plus, which will own 75%. Amsterdam-based UPC will hold 25% and will also receive 150 million euros ($134 million) in cash.

Canal Plus’s Polska premium channel will be included in TKP and UPC’s Polish cable network will also carry the channel, making it available to an additional 1 million Polish homes.

Christian Kozar, Canal Plus Poland’s general manager, told Daily Variety: “It was either merge or the two platforms died. We have chosen to live together.”