Brazil Pay-TV ops pact

Feevee companies form Neo TV buying coop

SAO PAULO — Led by No. 2 player TVA, 17 Brazilian pay TV operators have clubbed together to form buying cooperative Neo TV.

The alliance, which also includes TV Filme and Bell Canada-backed Canbras, comes on the heels of a wave of new pay TV licensing in Brazil.

Neo TV currently reps 552,000 subscriber homes — much less than the 1.5 million or so repped by Globo subsidiary NET — but with expansion growing out of the new licenses, its members collectively aim to have 2.5 million subs by 2003.

Only major player not aligned with either group is TV Cidade, which is partly backed by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst; this U.S. investor group has talked of rolling Cidade into its Argentine media investment group CEI, along with its other Latino cable assets.

The Neo-affiliated licensees aim to go after middle-income demos with packets of fewer channels at a cost of $18 per month, around half the standard price.