[Bratislava, SLOVAKIA] Three new Web portal sites have been launched in
Slovakia during October. Strong attention of content providers aimed to
Slovakia is caused by growing number of Internet users in this Eastern
Until October 2000, there was only one really strong player on the
Slovak portal market: Seznam.sk, local version of the most successful
Czech portal Seznam.cz. The market, however, has changed completely
during last month. As the first, Centrum.sk launched its services in the
beginning of October. Centrum.sk is owned and operated by Czech company
NetCentrum Ltd. running a similar site – Centrum.cz – in the Czech
Republic. NetCentrum received investment from two venture capital funds in May 2000:
Baring Communications Equity Emerging Europe and Intel Capital. Both
funds now hold minority stake in NetCentrum Ltd. Czech analysts assume
the value of investment about US $4 million, which gives NetCentrum
power to purchase or establish smaller local Internet companies.
Just only week later, Slovak version of pan-European portal Wanadoo
started to operate. Wanadoo is common brand name under which Web
services of France Tilicom are being marketed. At the moment, it is
operating the portal site in Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands,
Morocco and Spain. Local company GlobtelNet runs the Slovak version.
France Tilicom holds majority in this company, partly by itself, partly
by its stake in Globtel GSM, one of two Slovak mobile phone operators.
Wanadoo.sk is expected to offer broad variety of services combining
usage of Internet and mobile phone including e-business via phone and
WAP services. GlobtelNet also entered the local ISP market.
Another ambitious project is owned by Mr. Pavel Rusko, co-owner of TV
Markiza, the only Slovak privately-owned TV station. He is trying to widen
his media empire – currently formed by TV Markiza, daily newspaper
Narodna obroda, several magazines and radio station Koliba – with strong
Internet presence. Portal site Markiza.sk operates in synergy with the
TV station and offers, beside others, TV programs for download.
Markiza-sk also entered the e-business and ISP market. Markiza.sk can
leverage huge audiences of TV Markiza, which targets some 70 percent of
Slovak population; the start of the portal site is backed by massive TV ad