Spanish operators rely on HD to boost pay subs
November 23, 2009
From David Del Valle in Madrid
Spanish operators are relying on HDTV services to give a boost to the deadlocked pay-TV market.
Telefonica is launching its new VDSL services for over 2 million homes with a higher broadband speed (30 and 25 Megabites), including triple play and, from December, HDTV services such as AXN HD and Gol TV.
In its package Trio Futura, the company will also include a DVR service with a high storage capacity and HD cinema titles on demand. Its IPTV service is now called Movistar TV instead of Imagenio following the global rebranding of the company.
Digital DTH platform Digital Plus is also betting on HDTV services and is already distributing 9 TV channels: MTVNHD, Eurosport HD, National Geographic HD, FOX HD, Canal + HD, Canal + Liga HD, Canal + DCine HD, Canal + Deportes HD and Taquilla HD. All these channels can be watched through an iPlus Set-top-box with a 160GB hard disk which allows to record and play more than 80 hours of programming.
Spain's largest cable company ONO is also following suit and is set to launch HDTV services over the next weeks.
Pay-TV in Spain is suffering tough times. In the third quarter of the year, Imagenio (now Movistar TV) added 45,000 new clients reaching 654,300 subscribers as of September 30, up 11 per cent against the same period last year. At the same time, Digital Plus lost 40,000 clients, putting its subscriptions at below 1,900,000. Ono was down 7.6 per cent losing 80,000 TV clients in a year and 14,000 in the third quarter to 977,000 clients.