MILAN — The Italian paybox Telepiu, in which French media giant Canal Plus and Germany’s Kirch Group each hold a 45% stake, has closed 1996 with a 220 billion lire ($130 million) loss, nearly double the $70 million it lost in 1995.
Its debts increased to $110 million from $52 million a year earlier, while the total revenues of the pay TV service in 1996 amounted to $295 million, a 13% increase compared to 1995.
According to Telepiu execs, the negative results were caused by the huge investments it has made in digital TV technology. Created in 1990 as an analog, terrestrial pay-TV broadcaster, Telepiu was the first TV service in Europe to launch a digital satellite bouquet at the end of 1995. Today it has about 70,000 subscribers to its digital service and more than 800,000 to its traditional analog fare.