CME to Launch Voyo Online VOD Platform

Central European Media Enterprises (CME), which is 34.4% owned by Time Warner, is planning to roll out an online on demand service Voyo in six countries over the next eight months.

The Voyo video portal, which was first launched in early 2011 in the Czech republic, currently offers users local shows and series as well as the free streaming of live events such as Champions League Football and music concerts.

Next up is Croatia, where the service is set to bow in the second quarter of the year, with the rest of the markets following suit in the subsequent months. The streaming service will also be available on smart TVs and mobile devices by the end of the year.

Multiplatform plays have become increasingly important for CME, which now has over 60 online products and services with 8.5 million average monthly users. Its New Media Division saw online traffic grow 25% in 2010, with 17% growth in revenue.

"The VOYO platform will become the core of our New Media business in 2011 and going forward," CME CEO and president Adrian Sarbu noted during the fourth quarter earnings call. "It will enable us to distribute linear channels, offer catch-up TV and video-on-demand and will be financed from subscriptions as well as advertising revenues. In 2011, VOYO will be a pilot for our strategy: one content, multiple distributions. If successful, as we expect, it will enable us to rapidly increase market share in countries where it will be implemented."

The pan-European broadcaster has stations and networks
located Bulgaria
(bTV, bTV Cinema, bTV Comedy, bTV Action and, Croatia (Nova TV, Doma
and Nova World), the Czech Republic (TV Nova, Nova Cinema, Nova Sport and MTV
Czech), Romania (PRO TV, PRO TV International, Acasa, PRO Cinema, PRO TV Chisinau, and MTV
Romania), the Slovak Republic (TV MarkÃza and Doma) and Slovenia (POP TV, Kanal
A and POP Brio).

The Voyo platform has both free and pay components. In the Czech Republic, where it was first launched, TV Nova has traditionally offered local TV series to viewers on its website. Yet, the introduction of paid content and a new brand had actually increased traffic by 30% since the Voyo launch earlier this year.

The Voyo+ premium section in the portal allows users to pay to see episodes of their favorite shows and series before they air on free TV as well as a package of local and international movies CME has purchased from the Czech/Slovak Distributer Bonton. Currently CME is the only TV station in the Czech market to an online portal that offers a mix of paid and free content.