Prague, March 5 (CTK) – The demand for foreign-language television channels for ethnic minorities is surging as the number of subscribers to Russian and Vietnamese-language TV stations more than doubled in the Czech Republic over the past two years, statistics from the Axocom firm have said.
The number of viewers of German and Italian-language programmes increased by tens of percent, the statistics said.
“These are largely the new clients who came to the Czech Republic after the recession,” Axocom director Erika Luzsicza said.
“When it comes to the Asian programmes, this is a long-standing trend. The number of Asian residents has been steadily rising. In their communities, they want to keep contact with their mother country. For this, television is an adequate instrument,” Luzsicza said.
The ethnic stations are not freely accessible. They are available in programme packages of the individual satellite, cable and IPTV operators.
In 2014, four Russian-language channels with tens of thousands of subscribers could be found in the Czech Republic.
This year, there are more than ten of them and the number of subscribers has crossed the limit of 200,000.
This has occurred despite the fact that after the intervention in Ukraine, the ethnic Russian community has been less active in past years.
When it comes to the Vietnamese-language television stations, there was only one channel and a few hundreds of subscribers in 2014. By this year, the number soared to three channels and tens of thousands of subscribers.
Some Czech operators only started signing contracts for foreign-language channels in recent years, Luzsicza said.
“It was quite common that many foreign-language channels were largely distributed illegally in this country,” she added.
“However, the growing demand and potential of the market are helping to improve the affair and to get rid of this form of piracy on the market,” Luzsicza said.
“Every licence has its limitations and rules that cannot be easily breached,” she added.
The O2 is one of the pioneers in this sphere. As of March, it will be offering 13 new foreign-language channels to its viewers.
O2 will offer the stations to Russian, Polish, Vietnamese, Italian, German and Spanish-language viewers.