Indonesian cabler halts rollout

Decision triggers exits of Langlois, Djudzman

JAKARTA — Tough economic conditions have forced Indonesia’s largest cabler Kabelvision to postpone its nationwide rollout plus the launch of pay-pay-view and planned local channels.

The company is stuck at 47,000 subscribers, mostly in Jakarta, and believes the new services will not be viable until it has at least 75,000 subs.

The expansion halt has triggered the exits of Peter Langlois, who had been senior consultant in programming, advertising and sales for a year, and his lieutenant Sophie Djudzman.

“Launching will be delayed, most probably until mid-2002. Economic instability does not enable us to expand our network because it depends on the dollar,” says Srihanto Nugroho, Kabelvision’s director of infrastructure.

“So we will try to increase the number of subscribers among the 190,000 homes (passed). Our current 47,000 subs is a mere 24.7% of the total. Launching local channels and pay-per-view, which will cost a huge sum of money, will not be possible unless we have some 75,000 subscribers,”

Limited appeal

A lack of both local programming and Indonesian sub-titles has limited the appeal of cable channels as most of the population is not comfortable watching foreign-lingo fare.

The uncertain economic situation catapulted the greenback’s value to over 11,000 rupiah from a stable 9,000 rupiah — making the equipment needed for new services prohibitively expensive.

Kabelvision would have to fork out a minimum guarantee to distribs of at least $15,000 per title for blockbuster movies like “Titanic,” while the maximum PPV rate that could be levied is $2.

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