Didier Stoessel Zdroj: CME
19. 2. 2024

The Nova group's strategy is to operate paid sports channels, there is no economic sense in having a free-to-air sports channel, says CME’s CEO, Didier Stoessel.

Nova Group’s portfolio of sports channels will expand from the end of February to include two more channels focused on motorsports. In total, Nova Group will cover the broadcasting of six sports TV channels. According to Didier Stoessel, CEO of Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the parent company of the Nova TV group, the group’s strategy is to launch sports channels in pay TV mode. It is not considering entering free-to-air broadcasting with a pure sports channel, Stoessel told in an interview.

“It is our strategy to have pay TV stations for the sporting events we offer. It is also a trend we see in Europe. The reason is the price of broadcasting rights, which is so high that it is not possible to finance sports channels just from advertising. Subscriptions are essential to finance them. It is impossible to offer a purely sports channel for free,” he says.

In his words, only major international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where Nova shared part of the broadcasting rights with Česká televize, can be free-to-air on Nova. “We believe that big events, such as UEFA EURO or the World Cup, should be available to everyone. Although the price of the rights is high too, they are usually held once a year or with a larger time gap, not every weekend,” adds Didier Stoessel. If Nova had access to the broadcasting rights for a major sporting event, it would place it on Nova’s linear TV or on one of its thematic channels, but not on a sports station.

According to Stoessel, it is impossible to specify how many sports pay TV channels Nova Group intends to operate and whether it will expand their number. “This is a question related to what sporting events we can get on the air. We really have a lot of things right now. We could also have alpine skiing, for example, and we could add another channel, but the number of channels is not so important in the long run. More and more viewers are thinking in terms of streaming. They want to see a picture of the sport, click and watch. We have six channels now because we want to make sure that all the sporting events we have can be watched whenever our viewers want,” clarified Stoessel.

Nova does not even place most of its sports channels on its Voyo video service. Only selected broadcasts and content from Nova Sport 1 and Nova Sport 2 appear there. Even the upcoming stations, Nova Sport 5 and Nova Sport 6, will not be available on Voyo. “Viewers usually want to watch sports in the highest picture quality, so we would have to transform Voyo to 4K or to the highest quality, which is time-consuming. The advantage of sports viewing on IPTV operators’ offers is that viewers can go back to the content through time-shifted viewing. Voyo will continue to offer mainly drama and film, series, reality shows and programmes created for TV Nova,” added Didier Stoessel.

NOVA negotiates additional rights for NOVA SPORT

Before the launch of Nova Sport 5 and 6, Nova slightly rearranged the content offer of Nova Sport 1 and 2. “Nova Sport 3 and 4 remained as they were, i.e. focused on football. We removed Moto GP from Nova Sport 1 and 2 with the intention to put it on Nova Sport 6. We replaced it by Polish KSW, which was on Voyo where it performed very well. We also added the NFL, a package of women’s sports, including the French women’s football league,” Dušan Mendel, head of sports for Nova Group’s TV channels & VOD, described to

Formula 1 is returning to TV Nova after ten years - all practice sessions, qualifying sessions and races will be shown on Nova Sport 5. Nova Sport 6 will offer Moto GP races and the World Superbike Championship and supplement the motoring coverage with selected football matches from European football leagues such as the Bundesliga, LaLiga or Serie A in the early-evening and evening slots. It is not yet clear whether the offer could be expanded to include even more new (football) content from competitions that are not currently on Nova Sport. “We are still trying to get some interesting things that might be available, and we will disclose them soon,” Dušan Mendel responded when asked about the possible expansion of content on Nova Sport 6

None of this year’s major sporting events (Ice Hockey World Championship, UEFA European Championship, the Olympics) is likely to appear in Nova’s offer (ČT has the rights for the first two, Eurosport for the Olympics) and so the shared broadcast we saw at the end of 2022 with the FIFA World Cup in Qatar will not repeat.