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Wiener Telekabel ups digital offer

Vienna cabler raises stakes in battle with Sat

COLOGNE — Vienna cabler Wiener Telekabel has added 11 digital channels, including Discovery, 13th Street, Bloomberg TV and FoxKids, to the 56 channels that comprise its basic subscription package.

Another 35 channels can be accessed for an additional fee, mostly foreign-lingo stations from Turkey and the former Yugoslavia, video-on demand services and bouquets from German pay-platform Premiere.

By offering the additional channels at no extra charge, Wiener Telekabel is competing head on with the service offered by Premiere. “This has been agreed on with Premiere, and is part of our cooperation, as we plan to expand our Premiere offer,” a Wiener Telekabel spokeswoman said.

Wiener Telekabel is owned by UPC Telekabel, part of UnitedGlobalCom. UPC also owns cablers in the Austrian towns Graz, Klagenfurt, Wiener Neustadt, Baden and Niederoesterreich. It has 562,000 customers, the majority of which are analogue subscribers.

UPC is anxious to catch up with satellite provider Sat, which has had more success attracting viewers for its digital services. Sat is estimated to have 350,000 subscribers for its digital programming offer. UPC has only 31,000.

UPC is relying heavily on its partnership with Premiere and its exclusive sports programming. Last year, the German pay platform snatched the rights for Austria’s soccer league, which had been with pubcaster ORF. Premiere’s live broadcasts of soccer matches will be available through UPC’s network.