Tricolor TV (Russian: Триколор ТВ) the biggest Russian satellite television operator. It broadcasts a pack of TV channels in the European part of Russia and most of Siberian, Ural and Far East regions. Broadcasting in the European part has been held since December 2005 from esv Eutelsat W4 (36o в.д.). Broadcasting in the Eastern regions began in December 2007.
The principal difference between Tricolor TV and other operators is the pack of free channels broadcasts by Tricolor TV. There are 12 federal channels including "Pervy", "Rossiya", "NTV", "STS", "Karusel" and others in the free "Basic" pack. Except these, there are 19 more TV channels for the whole family. The budget pack of satellite channels turned to be very popular among Russian viewers. The number of Tricolor TV's subscribers is the largest in Russia. In March 2012 the audience of Tricolor TV reached a number of 10 000 000 households with around 30 000 000 viewers.
According to British Company "IHS Screen Digest" market research, "Tricolor TV" is the most popular pay-TV operator in Eastern Europe, the European leader in growth of the subscriber base over the past four years, and one of the world’s three leaders by this indicator along with Indian operators Dish TV and Sun Direct.
According to the research of company "J'son and Parntners", "Tricolor TV" is the leader on Russian pay-TV market (39% of subscribers), and it helds 86% of satellite TV segment.
Project idea is based on the fact that there is a significant disparity in terms of access to TV channels. In large cities with population over 500,000 at least 15 channels broadcast from the TV transmitter can be received almost everywhere. However, if you drive 20 km away from the transmitter, the picture is getting worse, within 30 km there are serous problems with reception and within 50 km range you can just forget about regular terrestrial TV. These are the numbers that frightened me. Over 50 million people in Russia have an opportunity to receive 5 or less TV channels, generally, with weak signal. Over 20 million people watch 1 channel, the second one's reception quality is too low. ”
—Dmitry Volobuev, first executive director of NSC.
- October, 2005 — Tricolor TV company was established;
- On the night of 1 October 2005— Tricolor TV test broadcast via Eutelsat W4 began.
- November, 12th, 2005 — Tricolor TV started broadcasting channels Russia, Ren TV, Сulture, DTV, TV3.
- May, 30th, 2006 — For half a year 150.000 persons connected to Tricolor TV, the number of televiewers exceeded 450.000 pers.
- May, 11th, 2007 - Introduction of the paid package channels (5 blocks: "Children", "Cinema", "Sports", "Cognitive", "Comedy"; 2 cannels for each block).
- March, 1st, 2008 — Telecasting has begun «Tricolor TV» to Siberia with companion "Bonum-1".
- July, 7th, 2009 — 5.000.000 households.
- September, 15th, 2009 — The contract between holding "Gazprom Media" and "Tricolor TV" about purchase "Tricolor TV".
- December, 2009- — 6.000.000 households
- 1 February 2010 — Telecasting from companion W7
- 1 February 2010 - Launch of Tricolor Internet service
Company acquisition by Gazprom Media
As it became known on 15 September 2009, Gazprom Media reached an agreement on buying NSC. Both the companies reportedly signed a strategic partnership agreement, according to which subscription bases will be merged, and part of NTV Plus services and channels will be available to Tricolor TV subscribers. This transaction attracted the attention of the Federal Antimonopoly Service, due to the fact that after closing the transaction Gazprom Media would capture the control over 97% of satellite TV viewers.
However, in August 2010, Tricolor TV press secretary Alexander Nikiforov stated in his interview to the ComNews daily that Holding hadn’t acquired the controlling stake of the company. Director-General of NSC Vyacheslav Mordachev assured that term of validity of the memorandum of intentions hadn't yet expired. Satellite TV market players link the interruption in the transaction with problems in reliable calculation of Tricolor TV subscription base — top manager of one of the dealer networks considers that the real number of subscribers is 20-25% smaller, and changes, depending on season. There haven't been released any official comments in regard to the transaction.
On 11 August 2010, the Vedomosti newspaper informed that the transaction was close to its end. However, it is not clear yet, how the reorganization will be made: it is reported that as acquirer will act a Tricolor TV’s competitor NTV Plus, not the Gazprom Media, as well as Tricolor TV will be completely integrated into NTV Plus.