Move helps boost reach of Digital Plus' channel

MADRID — Prisa-owned Spanish satcaster Digital Plus has sold distribution rights for the jewel in its crown, premium pay TV channel Canal Plus, to regional cabler Telecable.

It’s the first time Canal Plus will be available outside of the Digital Plus platform.

In this respect, the deal goes much further than Prisa’s previous pacts. It had joined Spanish telco Telefonica and IPTV operator Jazztel to offer triple-play packages including Digital Plus. And Digital Plus has also licensed individual basic package channels to other operators.

From Friday, all Telecable TV customers will receive Canal Plus free until Aug. 31. After that, Telecable triple-play subscribers will pay E9.63 ($11.85) a month to access the channel.

Telecable is also adding two thematic channels produced by Prisa’s pay TV arm Sogecable: Caza y Pesca TV and Dcine Espanol.

Caza y Pesca TV is a premium hunting and fishing sports channel, which also launches for the first time beyond the Digital Plus platform. It will cost $6.51 a month at Telecable.

Telecable will offer a triple play of Internet, telephone and TV, including the Digital Plus channels.

Deal comes after Digital Plus, Spain’s biggest pay TV operator, saw subs fall 189,000 in 2009 to 1.85 million clients following the launch of rival Mediapro’s pay DTT soccer service Gol TV.

“The move marks the beginning of a series of distribution deals with Canal Plus launching over other TV platforms beyond satellite as part of Digital Plus’ restructuring,” said Digital Plus contents head Alex Martinez Roig.

“There are other multi-distribution negotiations underway, which hopefully will conclude shortly,” he added.

Operating in Asturias, a principality in Northern Spain, Telecable TV services had 133,665 clients by year-end 2009, 3.3% of Spain’s total pay TV market.

Telecable is owned by the Caja de Ahorros de Asturias bank and publishing group Prensa Iberica and will expand to Spain’s Extremadura region by year end.

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