Satellite operator SES is charging German viewers a small ‘technical fee’ to decrypt the HDTV signals from a number of German network broadcasters. SES launched the scheme in late 2009, and the signals are now being viewed by 1.9 million households. The first year of viewing is free, and the major question was whether German consumers would then start paying the technical fee on subsequent years.
The answer seems to be positive. According to data from market research specialists GfK, of the 482,000 customers who started the one-year free trial period with HD+ between 1st November 2009 and 31st October 2010, 305,000 have decided to continue their use of the offering for an annual service fee of €50. The conversion rate therefore stands at 63 per cent. As of today, an additional 1.56 million households are currently using HD+ in the free trial period and will have the opportunity to extend their use of the service on a paying basis in the next twelve months. Based on the very positive development of HD+, SES expects to surpass the mark of one million paying customers by the end of next year.
The HD+ offering includes RTL HD, SAT.1 HD, ProSieben HD, VOX HD, kabel eins HD, N24 HD, TELE 5 HD, SPORT1 HD, RTL II HD, sixx HD, Nickelodeon HD and Comedy Central HD. Following a one year trial period free of charge, customers pay a fixed technical service fee of €50 per year.
Wilfried Urner, CEO of the SES affiliate HD PLUS, says: “The German viewers have accepted HD+. The conversion rate of 63 per cent from the free trial period into a paying mode remains as high as in the starting period and thus significantly exceeds our expectations. The high rate of acceptance began as a result of early-adopters, and now indicates that HD+ passes the test as a product for the mass market.”