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DTT takes aim at Euro pay-TV.

The pan-European adoption of digital terrestrial television (DTT) is causing quite a few concerns among the region's pay-TV players. Subscriber numbers have fallen for pay-TV channels, including Italy's Sky Italia, Germany's Premiere, the U.K.'s BSkyB, and Spain's Digital Plus, as a result of competitive cable and DTV channels and Triple-Play services now available.

However, British company BSkyB isn't taking this news sitting down. The pay-TV satellite broadcaster is launching a Triple-Play bid that includes broadband and mobile TV services along with television services.

Unfortunately for BSkyB, its rival, cabler NTL plans to one-up it. If a proposed merger with Virgin Mobile goes ahead, NTL will offer a Quadruple-Play option, which includes TV, Internet, fixed line and mobile phone services.

In Spain, pay-TV satcaster Digital Pius (owned by Sogecable and with 1.96 million subscribers), is being challenged by the recent additions of Telefonica's ADSL Imagenio service and Telco ONO's Triple-Play service.

But, in keeping with the age-old adage, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," Sogecable is said to be exploring options to enter the Telco business, perhaps via Telefonica (which incidentally owns 24 percent of Sogecable). Until then, however, Sogecable plans to nail down subscribers by locking in the most surefire pay-TV driver: soccer. The company has bought rights to Spanish league soccer matches until 2008--a move which may very well slow down the emigration of subscribers.
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Title Annotation:WORLD
Publication:Video Age International
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Previous Article:ITV enters full U.K. kids mkt.
Next Article:Pay-TV gets bigger in India.

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