Girish Mahajan

Television in Romania

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Television in Romania was introduced in August 1955. State television started to broadcast on December 31, 1956. The second television channel followed in 1968, but between 1985 and 1990, there was only one Romanian channel before the return of the second channel. Private broadcasters arrived in the early 1990s, with Antena 1 being the first private television station in Romania.


According to an article on the Romanian newspaper Adevărul, the top TV broadcasters were (based on the average prime-time number of viewers in Oct-Nov 2007): Pro TV (with 615.000 viewers), TVR1 (451.000), Antena 1 (305.000), OTV (272.000), Acasă TV (247.000), Prima TV (205.000), Realitatea TV (102.000) and Antena 3 (73.000).

In early 2015, it was officially announced that the top TV broadcasters are: Pro TV, Antena 1, Antena 3, Kanal D, Romania TV, Realitatea TV, TVR 1, Acasă TV, Prima TV.

Television market

Romanian television is dominated by a small number of corporations, owning multiple TV channels as well as radio stations, newspapers and media agencies. Their television business is structured around a flagship channel and a number of smaller specialized, niche channels. The biggest corporations of this kind are:

  • Intact Media Group (with Antena 1-Antena 5),
  • Central European Media Enterprises (with Pro TV, Acasă, Pro Cinema, Pro TV Internaţional and
  • Realitatea-Catavencu (with Realitatea TV, Romantica and The Money Channel)
  • Centrul Naţional Media (with Naţional TV, N24 and Favorit TV)
  • SBS Broadcasting Group (with Prima TV and Kiss TV).
  • Additionally, there is a public television service operated by Televiziunea Română with four channels (TVR 1, TVR 2, TVR Cultural and TVR i) and there are many localized or franchised international channels (such as HBO, MTV, Cinemax, AXN, Cartoon Network). Furthermore, there are a few independent and local broadcasters.

    Two private stations, Pro TV and Antena 1, are market leaders, sharing about 32% of the market, with public television in the third place. A feature of Romanian Television after 2000 was the boom of specialized channels - such as soap opera and telenovela channels (Acasă TV, Romantica, Antena 4 - Euforia lifestyle TV), sport channels (such as and Telesport), talk channels (Antena 2) news channels (Realitatea TV, Antena 3 and N24), different movie genres or documentary types, and even specializing on different musical styles (UTV Romania and MTV being geared toward club, dance and hip-hop music, whereas Favorit TV and Etno TV towards folklore, and Taraf TV towards manele). Teleshopping channels, lifestyle and weather channels, and special channels dedicated for display in public areas (such as waiting areas, airports, train stations, banks, supermarkets) additionally exist.

    Television broadcasts and cable television, frequency allocations, content monitoring and license allocation are done by the National Audiovisual Council (Consiliul Naţional al Audiovizualului (CNA)).

    Terrestrial television

    Romania terminated analogue broadcasting, officially on 17 June 2015. It is being implemented in DVB-T2 technology, although only tests are being made at the present date. In Bucharest and Sibiu, there are still channels available in DVB-T MPEG4, for an undetermined period of time. In Bucharest, the following channels and multiplexes are being used: CH30 for DVB-T2, with TVR1, TVR2, TVR-INFO, TVR HD. CH54 and CH59 for DVB-T, with TVR1, TVR2, TVR3, TVR-INFO, TVR HD, Kanal D, Antena 3. However, due to an agreement, TVR1 will continue to broadcast analogue until 31 December 2016, in order to allow people to accommodate the new technology, and because of limited coverage. The rest of analogue broadcasts were shut down. However, many terrestrial users, will migrate towards cable TV and digital satellite. Currently, all digital terrestrial broadcasts available, are Free-to-air.

    On 2 July 2015, Kanal D Romania left terrestrial platform. TVR announced that the number of own channels will be reduced, by closing TVR News since 1 August 2015 and probably and TVR 3 probably because of lower audience. The fate of TVR HD, one of TVR's most watched channel after TVR 1 and TVR 2, is unknown. This will lower the number of available channels on terrestrial platform. Beside TVR channels, only Antena 3 is still available, but unknown for how long, and whether it will remain in DVB-T, will shift to DVB-T2, or completely leave terrestrial platform. The absence and lack of implementation of DVB-T in Romania is somehow controversial, as many people are suspecting that this delay and the adoption of DVB-T2 is forced just to sustain the interest of cable and DTH providers, also the lack of interest of the must carry broadcasters in providing channels in terrestrial is very criticized, however the main DVB-T operator in Romania is SNR, which is said to be responsible for this.

    Romania used PAL B/G for analogue cable and broadcast television.

    In September 2016, Romania turned off DVB-T broadcasts which were experimental, and shifted on DVB-T2 technology.

    Cable television

    Romania has very high penetration rates for cable television in Europe, with over 79% of all households watching television through a CATV network in 2007. The market is extremely dynamic, and dominated by two giant companies – Romanian-based RCS&RDS and U.S.-based UPC-Astral. Both additionally offer IP telephony over coaxial cable and Internet services. The national CATV network is being improved, and most households are being migrated towards digital cable solutions. Digital DTH satellite service is available throughout the country, and accounts for an additional 10–15% of the market, with only about 5% (and after analogue terrestrial switch off even lower) being attributed to terrestrial analogue television. Digital satellite DTH is provided by a number of companies. Terrestrial television started officially on 17 June 2015, but with low coverage, therefore many people subscribed to cable or DTH.

    The reasons for this appeal started in the early 1990s. After the fall of the communist regime, in 1989, there was only one state-owned TV channel available (see TVR), a second channel being closed in 1985 (see TVR2). Private TV channels were slow to appear, because of lack of experience and high start-up costs (most startups were radio stations or newspapers). Thus, for the first three years, over the air, one would get one or two state channels and one or two local, amateurish private channels, broadcasting only a few hours a day. Atlantic Television, headed by Robin Edwards and Peter Thomas, which included US broadcaster Capital Cities/ABC and Canadian broadcaster CanWest International, partnered with TVR, the state broadcaster, to form Canalul 2 Television. Following a move whereby CanWest became the main shareholder and caused upset with TVR, the arrangements fell to pieces, to the consternation of Romanian reformers many of whom believed that Canwest's incompetence set Romanian civil society back ten years. Edwards later sued CanWest International in Barbados and won the case, before suing in Canada where CanWest settled out of court. Both Edwards and Thomas worked successfully at high level in the country for many years, Edwards in a political capacity whilst founding the 100,000 weekly circulation Business Week, Thomas in agriculture. After this many cable companies appeared and thrived, providing 15–20 foreign channels for a very low price (at the time 2 USD or less), some with Romanian translation, offering high-quality news, entertainment and especially movies or cartoons (one of the ways cable companies advertised was the availability of a cartoon channel, Cartoon Network, appealing to children, which in turn would appeal to their parents). The first two companies to provide CATV were Multicanal in Bucharest and Timiş Cablu in Timişoara, both out of business today. Many small, startup firms gradually grew, and coverage increased (coverage wars were frequent in the early period, with many cable boxes smashed, and new cable networks offering "half off for twice the channels" and immediately wiring the building for any willing persons).

    However, this period soon ended, with consolidation around 1995–96. Some large companies emerged: Kappa and RCS in Bucharest, Astral in Cluj, UPC in Timişoara, TourImex in Râmnicu Vâlcea. This consolidation came with gentlemen's agreements over areas of control and pricing, with claims of monopoly abounding. This process of consolidation was completed around 2005–06, when only two big suppliers of cable remained: UPC-Astral and RDS. Internet over coaxial cable has been available since around 2000, and IP telephony (over the CATV infrastructure) since the deregulation of the market in 2003. As of 2016, cable TV is available in most of the country, including most rural areas (where roughly 50% of the population live). Satellite digital TV appeared in 2004, providing coverage for the rest of the country, with both RCS&RDS and UPC-Astral having a stake in these companies. IPTV (over DSL) is also planned by Romtelecom through its TV service (Dolce), after offering satellite digital DTH TV. However, IPTV will not be much of a competition, since the other two big ISPs are also the two biggest CATV providers. However, beside RCD RDS and UPC, there are many other smaller CATV providers in Romania, operating locally or regionally. In the last years, all of them began providing Internet access, to make their offers more attractive and increase their appeal to their customers already subscribed to CATV service. Also many of them, although analogue cable TV is their basic offer (all cable TV providers in Romania are still offering this service), lately many, even small operators, began implementing successfully digital cable television (DVB-C) with SD and HD channels, providing receivers, CAM or delivering the content unencrypted for basic offer and some extra channels (up to 100 channels unencrypted, or even more).

    Cable TV is very cheap for all standards, the standard or basic service, offering about 50 channels, is around 20–30 RON/month including VAT (about 5–7 €), with the most expensive service, offering 10–15 channels more, including some pay-per-view such as HBO or Cinemax, costing no more than 60-70 RON/month (around 14-17 €). Cable television is also attractive because today, all CATV operators in Romania are also providing Internet access at various speeds (ranging from 20 MBPS to 1000 MBPS – depending on the provider and region), in many cases subscribers are contracting an Internet and TV package, at a fairly low price (as low as 50 lei/month or even less for "NET and CATV" for a basic package - depending on the provider). Internet access is, in many cases, granted by cable TV operators, as it was cheaper to implement it over the existent CATV networks in some cases.

    Cable Television is offered both in analogue format (with up to 70 channels, depending on the provider and region) by all operators around the country and digital format (up to 160 channels, depending on the provider and region) by some operators around the country. Digital cable is gaining popularity, but also, analogue cable TV remains available, since many people still own older CRT TV or older LCD or plasma sets without digital built-in tuner. Analogue cable television remains for an undetermined period of time, although there are rumors that analogue cable television will be phased out until 2018, because its popularity is decreasing, and the Internet speed must be raised, and also 4K channels will be launched. There is no dead end for analogue cable television, small providers will still provide it for undetermined period of time.

    Satellite television

    After the cable subscriptions, satellite subscriptions are on the second place, and are mainly popular in rural areas, were cable television and optical fiber networks are not widely available. The main operators are : DIGI TV operated by RCS&RDS , Focus Sat operated by UPC Romania ( which was the first DTH platform in Romania), Free Sat, DOLCE operated by Romtelecom, and Orange TV operated by Orange Romania. All providers are offering SD and HD broadcasts. Except Free Sat and Orange TV which are using exclusively DVB-S2 both for SD and HD channels, all of them are using DVB-S for SD, and DVB-S2 for SD and HD. Focus Sat and FreeSat can be also used with a CAM and a smart card fitted directly in a TV set with DVB-S ( only SD broadcasts, only Focus Sat) or DVB-S2 ( for SD & HD backward compatibility in case of Focus Sat, both SD and HD for FreeSat). However, not all channels available on cable or IPTV are available on satellite, this applies to all satellite providers which are also offering cable or IPTV. Sometimes, on satellite, other channels may be available than on the cable platform. Defunct DTH Platforms are: Boom TV and AKTA Satelit , which were acquired by Romtelecom , today Telekom Romania.


    IP Television in Romania is not very popular. It is however more popular than terrestrial television, but way behind cable and satellite television. It is popular in business (companies, corporations etc.) sector rather than consumer. It is provided by Telekom ( formerly Romtelecom), INES (an Internet, IPTV and Internet provider). RCS RDS tried unsuccessfully to implement IPTV but eventually gave up this service in favor of CATV and satellite TV. It is believed that this service is renegaded because the need of an extra reception equipment (set top box), because it is more expensive than cable TV and because at the same number of channels and because it may affect the quality of Internet service, as the infrastructure is not the same in all regions of Romania. In some cases it may work well, but in other cases it may be an unreliable service, which affects the Internet service (also the Internet service may affect the IPTV service), due to network architecture (old networks or not updated networks). Also, not available in all counties of Romania, also is not available in some zones of some cities. For example, in Bucharest there are areas were IPTV can not be installed due to the network.

    Viewing shares

    Given Romania's extensive cable coverage, many channels receive considerable viewing shares. Pro TV is the most viewed channel. Ratings data is measured by TNS-AGB International (2005–2007) and GfK Romania (2008–2011) on behalf of ARMADATA S.R.L.

    List of channels

    The following is a list of television channels broadcast in Romania.

    Public television channels
  • SRTv
  • TVR1: the main channel of the public broadcaster.
  • TVR2: the second channel of the public broadcaster.
  • TVR3: the regional channel of the public broadcaster.
  • TVR Cultural: Now defunct.the former channel focused on culture and cultural events.
  • TVR HD: channel in high definition.
  • TVR 4K:channel in 4K
  • Private TV networks
  • MediaPRO
  • Pro TV: the leading commercial station in terms of audience, covering around 93% of the urban population. Also available in HD.
  • Acasă TV: mostly dedicated to daytime telenovelas, family movies, news, talk shows, soap opera and entertainment. Also available in HD.
  • Pro Cinema: the MediaPRO's movie channel.
  • the MediaPRO's sport channel. Also available in HD.
  • MTV Romania: the local version of the well known music television.
  • Pro TV Internațional: the international service of Pro TV.
  • Intact
  • Antena 1: second most popular television channel, running a close second to ProTV.
  • Antena Stars: a talk show dedicated television.
  • Antena 3: the news channel of the Intact broadcaster.
  • Euforia Lifestyle: a channel dedicated to travel, fashion, cooking and other lifestyle entertainment.
  • ZU TV: a music channel, dedicated to Romanian and foreign music.
  • GSP TV: was a sport channel. Closed in April 2014, and on its former frequency is now ZU TV.
  • Realitatea Caţavencu
  • Realitatea TV: news television network.
  • Romantica: another television dedicated to family movies.
  • ProSiebenSat.1 Media
  • Prima TV: one of the first commercial television stations in Romania.
  • Kiss TV (Romania): the TV version of the popular radio station KISS FM.
  • Centrul Naţional Media
  • Național TV: a TV channel for general audience.
  • Național 24 Plus: another TV channel for general audience.
  • Favorit TV: a channel dedicated to Romanian folk music.
  • Discovery TV Romania
  • Discovery Channel: It initially provided documentary television programming focused primarily on popular science, technology and history, but in recent years has expanded into reality television and pseudo-scientific entertainment.
  • Animal Planet:
  • Discovery World
  • Discovery Travel & Living
  • Discovery Science
  • Investigation Discovery
  • National Geographic Romania
  • National Geographic Channel
  • National Geographic Wild
  • Modern Times Group
  • Viasat Explorer: is a television channel owned by Modern Times Group showing documentaries about wild animals, extreme sports, adventure, travel and technology.
  • Viasat History: is a pan Nordic and pan East European television channel showing factual programming on history, culture and society.
  • Viasat Nature:
  • Viasat History/Viasat Nature HD
  • TV 1000
  • RCS-RDS Romania
  • Music Channel Romania: musical channel.
  • U TV: musical channel.
  • DigiSport1: sport channel.
  • DigiSport2: sport channel.
  • DigiSport3: sport channel.
  • DigiSport HD: sport channel in high definition.
  • Digi 24: another news channel.
  • 10 TV: On 1 March 2012 this was rebranded to Digi 24, a new news station.
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • AXN: delivers 24 hours a day of action TV series, movies, animations and adventure-reality and lifestyle sports programmes..
  • AXN Spin: is a Polish television channel owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment aimed primarily at a younger audience, which broadcasts reality shows, cartoons, anime and television series.
  • Viasat 3: (Also available on DVB-T)
  • Viasat 6 (Also available on DVB-T)
  • Home Box Office Inc.
  • HBO
  • HBO Comedy
  • Cinemax
  • Viacom International Media Networks Europe
  • Paramount Channel (international): is a television channel operated by Viacom International Media Networks which showcases the Paramount Pictures film catalogue.
  • VH1 Europe: musical channel.
  • MTV Europe: musical channel.
  • Comedy Central
  • Intel Sky Broadcasting LTD
  • Look TV: is a generalist television channel.
  • Look Plus
  • Other channels
  • Kanal D: the Romanian version of the Turkish channel.
  • B1 TV: another news channel.
  • Trinitas TV: the channel powered by Romanian Orthodox Patriarchy.
  • Speranta TV: another Christian channel (Neoprotestant).
  • Party TV: a dance television, disbanded on 29 December 2011.
  • TVRM Educational: the Spiru Haret's (private university) educational channel.
  • Etno TV: another channel dedicated to Romanian folk music.
  • Taraf TV: the first channel dedicated to gypsy folk music ("manele")
  • Mynele TV: another manele dedicated channel.
  • Mezzo TV: is a French television channel devoted to classical music (including opera and ballet), jazz and world music.
  • DolceSport: is a sports television.
  • DolceSport2: is a sports television.
  • INES
  • România TV: is a 24-hour Romanian news television.
  • Travel Channel
  • BBC Entertainment: is an international television channel showcasing comedy, drama, light entertainment, reality.
  • Ducktv: is a children's television channel.
  • Disney Channel: is a children's television channel.
  • Disney Junior: is a children's television channel.
  • Minimax (TV channel): is a children's television channel.
  • References

    Television in Romania Wikipedia

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