Half solved problem: only UPC clients could watch HUN-SVK Euro qualifiers in Romania

Only part of the Transylvanian Hungarian community could watch Monday night the Hungary-Slovakia Euro 2020 qualifiers broadcast by the Hungarian public television’s sport channel, M4 Sport. While the clients of the Romanian UPC were able to watch the game in HD quality, clients of Digi Romania couldn’t do the same.

Kronikaonline.ro was informed from numerous parts of Transylvania – among others from Temesvár/Timișoara, Arad, Nagyvárad/Oradea, Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca, Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe- that on the screens of Digi Romania’s clients, instead of the live broadcast of the match the usual geocoding text appeared:

“Due to copyright reasons the actual program is being transmitted to Hungary only.”

(The third major cable service provider of Romania, Telekom Romania does not have M4 Sport among its channels from the outset.) On the other hand on the channel of the Slovakian public television, STV1 the same match was not geocoded so those subscribers in Romania whose package includes also this channel, could watch the game smoothly. But of course instead of Hungarian with Slovakian commentary which they do not understand.

Key players of the Romanian cable TV market

In the Romanian cable TV market the market leader is RCS&RDS (which also owns Digi) with more than 3 million subscribers, while Telekom Romania is the second with its 1,4 million subscribers, while UPC has about 1 million clients.

M4 Sport’s statement

Channel director of M4 Sport, Dávid Székely stated last weekend –before the match- that after the Hungarian Television (MTVA) created the financial and legal background, –according to the contract signed with the European Football Association, UEFA- also the technical conditions are given now for Hungarians with cable TV subscription, living in Transylvania and in Slovakia to watch both Euro 2020 qualifiers and friendly games of the Hungarian national team in the future.

Decade-old problem

Transylvanian Hungarians (and other Hungarians living in the Carpathian Basin, but outside of Hungary) faced with geocoding first time during the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted by South Africa. During the last nine years because of geocoding Olympic games, Formula One races, and numerous European and World Championships broadcast in Hungarian by M4 Sport were blocked outside of Hungary.


Title image: The usual geocoding text was on the screen on 9th Sept. 2019 instead of the match for  the RCS&RDS (Digi) clients. (Photo: Mihály Kemény)

Author: Attila Szoó