NetHold inks pay TV pacts

AMSTERDAM — NetHold, the Dutch-based pay television group recently bought out by French pay TV giant Canal Plus, has sewn up joint ventures with Nordic telecommunications giants Telenor in Norway and Tele Danmark.

A NetHold spokesperson told Daily Variety both deals were longterm initiatives for the future development of digital platforms in the Nordic territories.

The deal with giant Oslo-based Telenor ended any further talks between rivals Kinnevik and NetHold about merging their respective pay TV services TV000 and FilmNet. It’s also likely to put FilmNet in the lead in what has been a fierce six-year battle by the two pay TV programmers for control of the Nordic market.

Distribution merger

Under terms of the deal with Telenor, Nethold and Telenor will merge their TV distribution services in the Nordic region, respectively Multichoice and Telenor CTV. Telenor offers a CTV package of channels which in-clude TNT, The Cartoon Network, Discovery and others which are marketed across the Nordic territories through wholly owned subsidiaries.

The deal left NetHold’s Multichoice and rival Kinnevik’s Viasat both distributing the CTV package in Sweden and Denmark. Viasat is currently the largest distributor of subscriber services in Scandinavia.

The venture, which will be owned 50% by Telenor and 50% by NetHold, is to concentrate initially on the direct-to-home market. The Danish deal does not cover DTH, which will still be handled by Multichoice Denmark.

Viewers get bouquet

Multichoice Danmark and Tele Danmark already cooperate on the development of analogue subscription television. Under the terms of the deal with Tele Danmark, MultiChoice will offer its digital bouquet on the Tele Danmark networks, representing around 750,000 subscribers, and Tele Danmark will acquire exclusive cable dis-tribution rights to FilmNet’s three Nordic channels, FilmNet 1, FilmNet 2 and SuperSport, as well as to the Hallmark Entertainment Network.

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