By Constantinos Psillides
LUMIERE Television (LTV), the first cable provider in Cyprus has shut down and sold most all of its assets to rival CyTAvision, the cable company owned by the state telecommunication authority
LTV began broadcasting almost 21 years ago, in a groundbreaking moment for local television when it provided subscribers with the latest movie packages and popular TV series, in stark contrast to the aged programmes offered by the terrestrial channels.
What made LTV’s business soar, though, was it’s acquisition of football rights for the local and European leagues, including the extremely lucrative English Premier League.
But it couldn’t compete with the other emerging cable companies and was haemorrhaging subscribers over the last years. While LTV still maintained it’s Premier League broadcasting rights up until 2016, the company’s owners sold that to CyTAvision.
LTV’s sports channels are currently carried by CyTAvision.
The cable company found itself in hot water recently, due to its inability to pay the Nicosia football club APOEL the sum of €500,000 as part of their licencing agreement for the team’s home games. CyTA, the parent company of CyTAvision, eventually stepped in and bailed-out LTV.
LTV started falling apart in February when major shareholders Giorgos Xinaris –who co-founded LTV back in 1991 – and Akis Avraamides left the company reins to entrepreneur Chris Economides, who was saddled with taking care of the company’s loose ends, an endeavour that culminated in LTV selling broadcasting rights to CyTAvision.
LTV still has a state of the art studio in Pyrga village, near Nicosia, along with two outside broadcasting vans. It is not yet clear what will become of the rest of LTV’s assets. Company officials couldn’t be reached for comment.