Brazil digital ops tuning up

Cabler expects 100,000 digital subs by end of 2006

RIO DE JANEIRO — MTV Networks will launch five digital pay TV channels in Brazil this month: MTV Hits, MTV Jams, VH1 Soul, VH1 Mega Hits and GAS (Games and Sports).

The move comes in response to a growing demand for channels from the country’s top pay TV operators, which are launching digital services.

Net Servicos, the country’s No. 1 cable op, includes MTV Hits and VH1 Soul in its digital package set for launch today in Rio and Sao Paolo. The cabler expects to reach 100,000 digital subs by the end of 2006.

The five MTV channels are available to cable operators affiliated to Neo TV, a program buying association of smaller operators. MTV Networks and Neo TV have inked a deal under which any association member can carry the channels in their packages. At this point, the deal will just benefit TVA, the only Neo TV member that offers digital services.

As a result of the local demand, several programmers have announced channel launches in Brazil. Fox plans to bow a local version of male-skewing FX in January. Country’s leading programmer Globosat has announced Multishow Biz, a music channel that will focus on domestic talent. Turner will kick off TCM, which will feature the same programming as its sister channel in the U.S. Local pubcaster TV Cultura recently unveiled kids service TV Ra-Tim-Bum.

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