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Premium channels hit Chile

VTR-Cable Express, LAPTV to offer tiered service

SANTIAGO — Chile joins the growing Latino trend toward tiered cable services this week, as dominant operator VTR-Cable Express launches a premium level.

Until now, Chilean payboxes — like those in neighboring Argentina — have all offered basic packages of about 60 channels for $30 or $35 a month.

The switch was made official earlier this week by Cristobal Philippi, general manager of VTR-Cable Express, and Genaro Rionda, prexy of U.S. cabler LAPTV, which is supplying the MSO with an initial four film nets for its premium tier.

The LAPTV nets, multiplexed versions of Movie City and Cinecanal, offer product from the cabler’s studio backers — Paramount, Universal, MGM and Fox — plus fare from DreamWorks and indies.

Subscribers to the premium tier will pay a $9 installation fee, $7 a month for the service plus another $7 for the decoder rental (the latter fee waived for six months to early comers). VTR also plans to offer PPV soccer.

Initially, premium will only be available in Santiago’s upscale boroughs. Rival MSO Metropolis-Intercom has yet to announce plans to introduce tiers.

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