Pay DTT intensifies football TV war

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The approval of pay DTT services has stoked up the football TV war between La Sexta, and Digital Plus.

Mediapro has announced that its football TV channel Gol TV – free until August 31- will offer three Spanish League Football matches every weekend for E14.90, compared with Sogecable's Digital Plus which offers two for E15 on Canal Plus Liga. In addition, Mediapro will launch a specific version of Gol TV for public showing called Gol TV Bar, and will offer football matches on HD and Dolby Surround for cinemas.

The president of Mediapro, Jaume Roures, said that the channel will be distributed to as many platforms as possible to make it profitable. The group is finalising agreements with telco operators to distribute it through mobile phones and IPTV networks. The channel has a potential reach of 17 million TV homes and will be able to target 51 million mobile phone users.

The problem with pay DTT is that the majority of the 18 million decoders sold in the market are not ready for pay-TV channels. Viewers interested in the pay-TV content will have to buy a pay-DTT-ready set-top-box for around E60 or have an IDTV or be subscribed to another distribution platform (cable, IPTV, for example). Experts estimate that CPE manufacturers will take at three months to flood the market with pay DTT-ready boxes coinciding with the Christmas campaign.

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