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Duo Media Networks to launch Baltic streamer Duo One in September

Baltic broadcast group Duo Media Networks is to launch its own streaming service in September, covering Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the company’s CEO Jüri Pihel has told C21.

Jüri Pihel

To be made available throughout the Baltics and offered in four languages – Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian – the new service will be called Duo One and will be bundled in with services offered by existing pay TV and streaming operators.

Duo Media has already signed content agreements with six or seven operators, including Lithuania’s Telia, with negotiations taking place with several others, according to Pihel. Once up and running, Duo One will offer viewers a mixture of on-demand and live channels, with its strongest content subsequently being shown on Duo Media’s thematic channels.

The company is now stocking up on content to feed the upcoming platform. “We are buying combined rights: linear rights, with SVoD rights and some catch-up. We are giving some exclusivity on SVoD for some windows – three, six, nine months,” said Pihel. “Then we are putting the same episodes and programmes on our linear channels. We have many niche channels, we can use them differently.”

The former head of Estonian children’s channel Kids Network Television (KNTV) and Viaplay programme director said the launch of Duo One via existing VoD platforms would provide a major boost to Duo Media’s footprint in the region. “This means that by Christmas instead of having 5,000 customers in the Baltics we will probably have 500,000,” said Pihel.

The half-million subs figure has only been reached so far by TV3 Group-owned Baltic streaming leader Go3, amid a congested market for on-demand services and platforms. “You can say [Go3] is a rival, but we don’t see it that way because for us it’s a better use of content, reaching a broader audience and making it economically viable,” explained Pihel.

Formed in late 2020, Duo Media Networks currently spans 19 channels across the Baltics and in the MENA region. The group is the result of a merger between Estonia’s leading commercial terrestrial channel Kanal 2 and the country’s two secondary channels, Channel 11 and 12, and a suite of pan-Baltic thematic channels, including KNTV.

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