From Branislav Pekic in Rome
LuÃs NazarÃ© has been named as the chairman of Airplus TV Portugal, a company which is competing with Portugal Telecom for the licence to manage the Portuguese pay-TV DTT multiplexes.
At a press conference in Lisbon, NazarÃ© announced that if the company is awarded the DTT licence it will offer only 18 TV channels in coastal areas and 14 in the interior of the country, for a price of around E11 a month. He explained that Airplus TV opted for a reduced package of channels as clients usually receive more channels then requested, which they end up never watching. NazarÃ© anticipated that there will be 8 to 10 TV channels produced in Portugal, which will be developed by the broadcasters, as well as a “public interest channel, which will be at the disposition of the State”. Despite being rivals in the battle for the DTT license, NazarÃ© underlined that AirPlus TV also wants to “develop a partnership and friendly relationship” with Portugal Telecom.
AirPlus TV is planning to invest E70 million to achieve national coverage, a figure which includes a E23 million subsidy for the installation of set-top boxes. Portuguese businessman Miguel Pais do Amaral announced he is acquiring a 20 per cent stake in Airplus TV Portugal, which will be effective “only if the licence is awarded”.
Despite all the publicity surrounding the awarding of the licences, DTT remains an unknown concept for more than 80 per cent of Portuguese citizens, according to a study conducted by Portugal's Communications Observatory (Obercom). In fact, only 16.3 per cent of those polled know that the digital platform will substitute analogue transmission in 2012.