Cyfrowy Polsat is the largest media group in Poland today. Satellite dishes with the characteristic Cyfrowy Polsat logo, an easily recognisable showcase of the brand, have been a constant feature of the landscape for many years in Polish cities, suburbs and villages, on blocks of flats, houses and other properties. Today, thanks to the trust of our subscribers, viewers and users, we have become the largest Polish media group, offering not only satellite pay TV services, but also HSPA+ and LTE mobile broadband access, online services, PPV, VOD, catch-up TV, and more besides. However, before getting to where we are now, we followed a dynamic growth path, which first began 18 years ago.
The history of our operations dates back to 1996, when we established a joint-stock company under the name of Market S.A. Three years later, in December 1999, was our first satellite broadcast. At that time, we used the Telewizja Polsat logo, i.e. the sun graphic widely recognised by Polish viewers, which reflects our close cooperation with Telewizja Polsat, broadcasters since 1992.
In this period we changed our company name to Polsat Cyfrowy S.A. and introduced our own logo. The sun graphic in our original logo was replaced by a sphere, a constant part of our visual identity ever since. During this period we signed a historic agreement with Telewizja Polsat S.A. concerning the operation of the digital satellite pay TV platform.
In 2003, we were granted a licence for wireless distribution of satellite TV and radio channels. As a result, we become a full-fledged independent digital satellite TV platform. The year 2004 brought about another change in company name, and we became Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. Our growth rate was rapid, and the Cyfrowy Polsat channel offering became very popular in Polish households. At the end of 2004, Cyfrowy Polsat satellite TV services had a total of 393,200 subscribers.
In 2005, Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. merged with Polsat Sp. z o.o., its wholly-owned subsidiary. The assets taken over as a result of the merger included most of the set-top boxes previously leased from Polsat Sp. z o.o. By the end of 2005, our subscriber base had almost doubled to 656,700, while in the following year it grew still further to 1.3m, giving us the position of the largest digital TV operator in Poland. In 2006, we set up a new company, Cyfrowy Polsat Technology, to manufacture our set-top boxes. 2006 was a very important year in the history of our brand – to keep pace with the times and technological progress, we decided to adopt a new visual identity. From that time on, orange, a warm, family-oriented and optimistic colour, associated with determination and resourcefulness, became the dominant colour of Cyfrowy Polsat. Our logo became more modern and dynamic, and better suited to the technological profile of the brand and our vision for development.
In 2007, Cyfrowy Polsat Technology started the production of its set-top boxes. We continued to develop rapidly – at the end of 2007 we had around 2.1m subscribers, a jump of more than 60% year on year. On May 6th 2008, our shares were listed for the first time on the Warsaw Stock Exchange – a landmark moment in the history of our Company. 2008 also saw the launch of the MVNO mobile telephony service. The number of subscribers to our satellite pay TV grew steadily – at the end of 2008 it amounted to 2.7m. The nature of the changes we went through and our development was reflected visually through new icons for our television and mobile phone services, which were added to our previous logo created two years ago.
In 2009, there was a new service launch – Cyfrowy Polsat VOD Home Video Rental. It offered our subscribers paid access to popular films available on selected set-top box channels. Our subscriber base expanded by another 0.5m.
In 2010, we launched a new service, HSPA+ broadband Internet access, and started to market the first HD set-top box of our own production. The millionth set-top box rolled off the production line at the Cyfrowy Polsat factory. We also offered our subscribers an option to use all three services – television, Internet and mobile telephony – under one subscription agreement and one bill. As a result of that change, our logo was also modified by the addition of ‘Telewizja’, ‘Internet’, and ‘Telefon’ (Television, Internet, Telephone). Since then, we have used the icons representing all three of the services from our portfolio in order to consistently position our multi-play offer. In 2010, we also finalised the acquisition of M. Punkt Holdings Ltd., owners of a mobile distribution network, and announced the acquisition of Telewizja Polsat, which made us the largest media group in Poland.
In 2011, we became the first company in Poland to sell LTE broadband services, the fastest and most advanced mobile Internet service in the world. We also expanded our product offering with Multiroom and catch-up TV services. In January 2012, we concluded an agreement to acquire a 100% interest in INFO-TV-FM, enabling us to launch a new service, Mobile TV, based on the terrestrial digital broadcasting technology, DVB-T. In 2012 we also acquired a 100% interest in Redefine, the company that created IPLA, the leading online video service in Poland, and Muzo, an online music service. We signed a cooperation agreement with Polkomtel Sp. z o.o. to introduce a multi-play offer and cross-sell standard products. The speed of our LTE Internet service was increased to 150 Mbps, and the service availability expanded – in the first few months of 2013 it was within reach of 50% of Poles.
2013, a highly eventful year, held many key moments for the development of our Company.
The most important involved the conclusion by Cyfrowy Polsat of a conditional agreement to acquire a majority stake in Metelem Holding Company Limited, which had full ownership of Polkomtel, the ‘Plus’ mobile network operator. The transaction made the Cyfrowy Polsat Group and Polkomtel one of the largest corporations in Poland and the leading media and telecommunications group in the region. In 2013, Telewizja Polsat also signed an agreement to acquire Polskie Media S.A., the broadcaster of TV4 and TV6 channels, which were then incorporated into the Group’s TV channel portfolio.
In the first half of the year, we announced changes in our brand communication by introducing a new slogan: ‘Twój Multimedialny Dom’ (‘Your Multimedia Home’), intended to mark another significant milestone in the development of our Company to create an extensive portfolio of products for the whole family. In autumn, we had two more reasons for celebration: the manufacture of the five millionth set-top box and the 5th anniversary of our factory’s operation in the Targówek district of Warsaw. At the end of 2013, Cyfrowy Polsat and Telewizja Polsat announced that the Group had purchased broadcasting rights to EURO 2016 and the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers, as well as to the EURO 2016 final tournament to be held in France.
Following the expansion of our partners’ radio station networks, from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013, the coverage of LTE grew from 35.14% to about 67% of Poland, while HSPA/HSPA+ broadband Internet access increased from 91% to almost 100%.