Co third in Euro's pay TV race

AMSTERDAM – Modern Times Group’s multichannel operator ViaSat has inked a deal with Scandinavia’s NetCom Systems that makes ViaSat the third-biggest supplier of pay TV in Europe, behind Canal Plus and British Sky Broadcasting.

The deal puts ViaSat in charge of the programming, sales and marketing for Swedish cable operator Kabelvision’s 400,000 cable customers. ViaSat currently has more than 900,000 addressable households. The new agreement gives it 100,000 more addressable households.

“There are 1.5 million addressable households in Scandinavia, meaning they are equipped to receive pay TV or pay TV services. We now control the signal for 1 million of them,” ViaSat CEO Peder Ramel told Daily Variety.

“The deal gives us more muscle at the bargaining table,” added Ramel. ViaSat’s customers currently include about 25 encrypted channels, including a raft of U.S. channels such as Nickelodeon and the Sci-Fi Channel.

Canal Digital, 50% owned by Norwegian telco TeleNor and 50% by Canal Plus, and ViaSat’s only direct competition in Scandinavia, is believed to have upward of 200,000 addressable households. While Canal Digital is conducting a small digital trial in Scandinavia, like ViaSat, it is still largely operated as an analog service.

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