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Sub numbers soaring for Spain's Canal Satelite

MADRID Following strong fall sales, Spanish digital platform Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) pushed past 1 million subscribers Oct. 26.

CSD is owned by Sogecable, a joint venture of managing shareholder, Spain's Prisa Group, and French media giant Canal Plus.

The subscription sales puts CSD on track to break even next year or in 2002, depending on subscriber outlay, says Sogecable general manager Carlos Abad.

Sogecable chief executive ofricer Javier Diez de Polanco attributed the sales take up on CSD, Spain's most popular digital TV operator, to "essentially the quality of its contents" and to the migration of subscribers from analog premium movie-sports channel Canal Plus to its multiplexed digital equivalent on CSD.

In all, 93% of CSD clients subscribe to Canal Plus. Launching in January 1997 CSD signed output deals with all the major U.S. studios save MGM.

Diez de Polanco used a press lunch in Madrid Oct. 26 to voice growing skepticism in Europe among pay TV operators about the asking price for soccer rights.

"Pay-per-view buys for soccer games have not come up to forecasts," says Diez de Polanco. The biggest Spanish league-game this season, face-off between Barcelona and Real Madrid, saw 320,000 buys, he added.

Diez de Polanco's complaints about high-price PPV soccer rights come just days after U.K. cable operator NTL passed on a three-year $459 million deal for rights to England's Premiere League soccer matches. It had aimed to use the games as a loss-leader to drive subscriptions.

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Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Oct 30, 2000
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