Sogecable, Orange joint triple play offer

From David Del Valle in Madrid

Following the recent agreement with Telefónica to launch the triple play service Trio Plus, operational since the beginning of December, Sogecable is now negotiating with France Telecom-controlled IPTV service Orange TV to launch a similar offer in those areas where the telco company is not present.

Both companies had engaged in similar talks in the past but negotiations were put on hold after Sogecable signed a non-exclusive deal with Telefónica in June. Industry experts believe that a possible agreement with Orange not only be positive for Sogecable in terms of business growth and visibility, but could also pave the way for future anti-trust approval for a possible acquisition of its pay-TV arm Digital+ by Telefónica, as it would eliminate exclusivity.

A possible deal would allow Sogecable to offer ADSL Internet access and telephony, along with Digital Plus, and would enable Orange to include the premium channel Canal Plus in its current programming line-up boosting thus subscriptions. Both companies have also agreed to launch a mobile version of Digital Plus, more than 20 TV channels, through Orange’s mobile network.

Such an agreement would allow Sogecable to mitigate the current tendency of subscribing to combined triple play offers and increase its subscriber basis. During the first nine months of 2007, the number of net new subscribers amounted to nearly 100,000 clients, to a total of 3.76 million, up 3 per cent. In that period, the Telefónica's IPTV service Imagenio captured more than 70 per cent of all those new clients, whereas Sogecable only 2,000.

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