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Bankrupt Romanian DTH player absorbed into local DT owned telco

The cut-throat price competition in pay TV in Romania has claimed another victim, with the Romanian web site Money, saying that Romtelecom will buy ou

By PETER WHITE

Published: 3 March, 2011

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The cut-throat price competition in pay TV in Romania has claimed another victim, with the Romanian web site Money, saying that Romtelecom will buy out Boom TV a local satellite operator for a paltry €8 million, at roughly the rate of €80 per subscriber. In other, richer parts of Europe the going rate is ten times that level.

Boom TV is owned by Israeli group DTH Television, and will now become part of resurgent Telco Romtelecom, which in turn is majority owned by Greek OTE, in turn run by Deutsche Telekom. Romtelecom was the only bidder, the web site reported, while Boom is in bankruptcy reorganization.

Romtelcom gets around 95,000 subscribers, an asset falling so rapidly that it needed to put in place a formula of €80 per subscriber to reduce its payment if it ends up taking on any number under 95,000. The Boom TV customers will be migrated over six months to the existing Romtelecom service – it has both one million satellite subscribers, but it also started up a fledgling IPTV service a year ago and already has around 30,000 subscribers to that as well.

The other big players creating the price war in Romania are RCS&RDS with about 1.4 million customers, Liberty Global’s UPC with about 1 million cable subs and 200,000 satellite subscribers, and players like Akta TV and DCS bringing up the rear in both satellite DTH and cable. The population of around 21 million drive around 7 million TV households in Romania which are already 65% penetrated with a variety of Pay TV services, at typical ARPUs of around €20 to €25.

Boom TV went into bankruptcy almost a year ago and has lost some 35,000 subscribers during that time and is said to have over €100 million of debt.

Romtelecom with its Dolce TV platforms, has come out of nowhere in the local TV stakes, and is now the most aggressive of all the price cutters dominating the Romanian market.

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