Premium channels to b'cast on DirecTV service

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain — In its second big satellite rights deal in just six months, HBO Latin America Group has signed an exclusive satellite carriage deal for Brazil with satcaster Galaxy Latin America (GLA).

The accord will see Galaxy Brasil, a 100% subsid of GLA, holding exclusive direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV rights for Brazil to HBO’s three premium channels, HBO, HBO2 and Cinemax. The channels will broadcast on GLA’s DirecTV service.

The agreement also contemplates HBO and Galaxy Brasil developing premium services. These will include HBO Plus and HBO Digiplex.

The deal looks like extending considerably HBO’s impact in Brazil, where, despite strong takeup, it previously reached only 40% of the market.

HBO Latin America signed a similar DTH satellite carriage deal with GLA for Argentina in April 1999 when HBO pulled its service from Argentine cable nets because of the cable operators’ refusal to run HBO as a premium service.

But the Brazil and Argentine accords do not necessarily mean other exclusive HBO sat deals for Latin America. “I think we have to be open to all possibilities,” Ele Juarez, president and CEO of HBO Latin America told Daily Variety.

HBO will continue its cable distrib deals in Brazil. GLA owners include DirecTV Latin America, a Hughes Electronics Corp. subsid, and the Cisneros Group.

HBO Brasil is a partnership between HBO Ole partners and local company TVA a subsid of the Grupo Abril. HBO Ole partners are affiliates of Time Warner, Sony Pictures, the Walt Disney Co. and Ole Communications.

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