NET Brasil seeks box bidders

MEXICO CITY — Continuing its plans to develop programming tiers in one of the world’s fastest-growing cable markets, Globo subsidiary NET Brasil is seeking tenders for an equipment deal worth around $150 million per year.

NET has invited 80 suppliers to submit bids to produce up to 1 million digital set-top boxes per year. So far, 35 have shown interest, company CEO Moyses Pluciennik told Daily Variety.

NET also is “fairly close” to a deal with rival paybox TVA whereby both will have access to film nets Telecine (a Globo joint venture with Fox and UIP) and HBO Brasil (a TVA partnership with Warner, Sony and Disney), Plu-ciennik said.

Providing services to payboxes repping two-thirds of Brazil’s 2 million subs, NET has already signed a $50 million deal with Israel’s Eastern Electronics for 500,000 analog decoders (Daily Variety, Jan. 7).

The analog boxes will be installed next week, enabling NET to tier its programming by late March. Channels in-cluding multiplexed versions of Telecine — designed as a pay net but still distributed as a basic service — will shift to premium status.

Pluciennik wants to start installing the more versatile digital decoders by October, and hopes to introduce between 500,000 and 1 million over the subsequent 12 months. Among the companies showing an interest in the NET invi-tation are General Instruments, Scientific Atlanta, IBM and NetScape. Pluciennik expects to settle on three or four providers.

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