Around 100 jobs have already been lost as a result of last year's closure of UPC-owned Polish channels Wizja Jeden and Wizja Sport and the remaining 45 staff will go when UPC moves the transmission of its Hungarian, Czech and Slovakian UPC Direct services to Amsterdam.
The Broadcast Centre, which has playout and uplink capacity for up to 48 TV channels and 12 radio channels, rents around a third of the Maidstone Studios site. Buyers are being sought either for the business as a whole or for the equipment. Managing director Magnus Ternsjo said that he was flexible about how to dispose of the assets but believed it was worth more as a whole than as parts. He added that around 10 staff would be retained to dispose of the assets after the UPC Direct Services transfer to Amsterdam.
The centre was set up five years ago by Polish pay-TV operator At Entertainment. It was expanded to cover other central European countries in mid-1999 when
UPC bought At Entertainment ( Broadcast, 11.6.99). The centre is now owned by TKP, a holding company 25 per cent owned by UPC and 75 per cent owned by Canal + resulting from the merger of the Polish ends of the companies last December. As a result, the centre no longer uplinks channels for the Polish direct-to-home market and UPC has since informed the centre that it will not require its services after 1 January next year.
Canal + and UPC agreed in August last year to merge their competing platforms Cyfra (Canal +) and Wizja TV (UPC). Both had managed to sign up around 400,000 subscribers but were losing money ( Broadcast21.9.01). Canal + is now looking to sell the merged entity known as TKPSR.