Viasat joins piracy war

NDS technology included with set-top boxes, smart cards

AMSTERDAM — Modern Times Group’s Viasat Broadcasting division has inked with the NDS Group for conditional access technology to stamp out the piracy plaguing its digital satellite platform.

MTG prexy-CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht said he expected “the most secure system available” would “reduce digital subscriber churn levels and accelerate Viasat’s digital subscriber acquisition.”

Company claimed 617,000 digital subscribers at the end of 2002. MTG is a Scandinavian media group that also has interests in the Baltic and Central and Eastern European territories.

NDS’ conditional access secure technology will be included in Viasat packages of set-top boxes and smart cards sold to new subscribers. Viasat will also replace subscribers’ smart cards with new cards using the NDS VideoGuard technology and download new software to set top boxes.

NDS is a subsidiary of News Corp.

Viasat’s platform includes 10 of its own and 20 third-party pay TV channels broadcast across the Nordic region. Analysts and MTG alike had cited piracy as one of the group’s most serious problems.

In a related story, MTG will make Swedish Television (SVT) channels available on the Viasat digital platform for the first time. As of Wednesday SVT1, SVT2, news channel 24, the Children’s Channel and SVT Extra will be broadcast to all of Viasat’s digital basic and premium subscribers in Sweden in an agreement that runs for five years.

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