Antenna, better known as ANT1, is a television network airing in Greece and Cyprus. The alternate spelling is wordplay in Greek; ena (ένα) is the Greek number 1 (one), thus ANT1 is pronounced the same as Antenna (Αντέννα).
It launched on 31 December 1989, the same year as rival Mega Channel, and is owned by ANT1 Group. ANT1 had been the most popular network in Greece for years with its line up of hit series including popular dramas Lampsi and Kalimera Zoi. Programming consists of comedies, dramas, news, current affairs programs, game shows, and entertainment shows.
The first broadcast was on 31 December 1989. One of the concept executive producers have been Nico Mastorakis who brought with him several original (for the Greek viewers) ideas after his stay in the United States. Programs like Wheel of Fortune (Greek version) and Oi Men Kai Oi Den were immediately among the top-ten shows in Greece. Cartoons used to be offered in the morning; most were shown in the Greek language.
Antenna also runs Easy 97.2FM and Rythmos 94.9 (a local pop-music radio station in Athens), as well as international networks ANT1 Satellite (from North America), ANT1 Pacific (Australia) and ANT1 Europe (from Europe and outside the Balkans) which broadcast the best of ANT1 programming to audiences abroad. ANT1 has also launched a digital channel, Antenna Gold, that airs programming from Antenna's programming library including many number-one hit shows. It airs in North America via Dish Network. It also owns a stake in Makedonia TV, a TV station with national coverage in Greece, and Easy 97.5FM based in Thessaloniki.
Programs that were once shown on ANT1 include CBS Evening News from the U.S. ANT1 Satellite News was also shown until the late 1990s. Antenna TV studios are located in the Athens suburb of Marousi. Its main Athens transmission tower is on Mount Hymettus. The station broadcasts terrestrially via a network of repeaters throughout all of Greece and Cyprus.
The antenna is led by Theodore Kyriakou. He served as Executive Vice President of the Antenna Group SA (from 1995) and as Chief Operating Officer (from September 1998) until his appointment in March 1999 as Chief Executive Officer, a position which he held until his appointment in January 2002 as Group Vice Chairman. Mr. Kyriakou has been a Director since September 1998.
Before 1995, he worked for the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. owned by Gannett Broadcasting, WUSA. WUSA is a television station broadcasting on channel 9 in Washington, D.C. Once again owned by Gannett Broadcasting, WUSA is an affiliate of the CBS television network, and the longest-tenured affiliate of that network. WUSA's studios and transmitter are located in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington. He has also worked for Antenna Satellite in New York. He holds a degree in International Business and Finance and a degree in Physics from Georgetown University, where he graduated cum laude.
Kyriakou is credited with reshaping the Antenna asset portfolio. in October 2008, he built up a war chest for potential media acquisitions following the sale Nova, the Bulgarian assets of his Antenna TV company to Modern Times Group of Sweden for €628m (£600m). Interviewed following that transaction by the Financial Times, Kyriakou said: “We will be looking at a variety of assets across the broad spectrum of the media world and across Europe.” As the FT reported, Antenna was founded by Mr. Kyriakou's father Minos in 1989 and it is now the largest Greek-language media company in the world with production companies, radio stations, magazines and television channels at home.
It also owns channels in the US and Australia, serving the large Greek-speaking populations in those countries.
- 1986/1987: Construction of Antenna TV station begun. Construction continued until Antenna began operations of the satellite. Signals were being put throughout the country.
- 1989: Antenna began broadcasting in Greece.
- Early to mid-1990s: Antenna began launching ANT1 in Cyprus, ANT1 Satellite for North American viewers, and ANT1 Pacific in Australia. The broadcasting hour was short and was broadcast 8 hours live (7:00 pm east to 3:00 am EAST), and reruns from 9 am east to 5 pm east until 1999. HRT from the Croatian Information Centre was also broadcast on the same channel.
- 1992: Kalimera Ellada (Good Morning Greece) debuted as the first-morning show in Greece.
- 1992-1993: Lampsis and Kalimera Zoi past the 1,000th-episode milestone.
- The mid-1990s: Antenna and Skai TV were the number-one channels as indicated in some commercials. The ANT1 slogan (ANT1 noúmero éna) was used until 1999 after their ratings were number one in Hellenic-speaking television. Some programs throughout the 1990s were numbering one.
- 1996: Antenna.gr hit the World Wide Web; some prefer antenna.com.gr.
- 1996: ANT1 satellite began broadcasting on channel 604 on Dish Network in the U.S. (see Dish Network and EchoStar for more).
- The Late 1990s: Lampsi and Kalimera Zoi past the 2,000th-episode milestone.
- September 1999: ANT1 Satellite and Pacific extended programming to 16 hours of broadcasting and also added live news coverage.
- Late 2000: ANT1 Satellite and Pacific began broadcasting 24-hour program.
- 2001: ANT1 purchased NovaSat and contracted with Bulgaria in broadcasting rules.
- 2001/2002: Lampsi and Kalimera Zoi past the 3,000th-episode milestone.
- 2002: ANT1 Profits began to fall. It started from the $15 (American) range to $1.50 in the following weeks.
- 2002: ANT1 in North America was moved to channel 605 on Dish Network. ANT1 Gold was launched.
- 2002: Ratings for Ta Nea tou ANT1 peaked at around 200.000, while Alter and Star reached 250.000.
- September 2002: ANT1 changed its slogan to kainourgios kosmos ("different world") while more shows were coming.
- 2003: Low profit meant ANT1 profits listed as ANTV on the New York Stock Exchange was no longer seen on ANT1 satellite.
- 2006: Antenna launched Antenna Europe, an international channel that broadcasts the 'best of Antenna' programming to major centers in Europe.
- 2006: Antenna launched Antenna Gold, Blue (music video channel), ANT1 Radio, Rythmos 94.9 and NovaSport FM to the North American market. All channels available on Dish Network, expansion is part of a new contract signed with Dish Network.
- 2007: Antenna Gold has removed from the NOVA lineup due to the expiration of the agreement between ANT1 and Multichoice Hellas. Antenna Gold is no longer available to viewers in Greece.
- 2008: ANT1 Group sold the Bulgarian Nova television station to Swedish-based Modern Times Group for €620 million, thus securing a crucial line of credit for its distressed core business that experienced fallen ratings in the 2007-2008 season.
- 2009: ANT1 started broadcasting online, via its official website, only for people who live in Greece, excluding foreign programs and launched all its programmes as a video on demand.
- March 2016: ANT1 started broadcasting in high definition.
- September 2016: Theodore Kyriakou, won on behalf of ANT1 one of four national television licenses auctioned in Greece after spending EUR 75.9m in a highly unusual competitive bidding process.
- July 2017: Minoas Kyriakou has died. He was the founder of ANT1.