TS News - Canal Plus To Re-Launch Telepiu

TELE-satellit News, 21 February 1997

Canal Plus To Re-Launch Telepiu
  MILAN, Italy, 97/02/21 (TS) -- At the HQ of Telepiu in Milan the effects
of the mega-merger between NetHold and Canal Plus are slowly starting to be
seen. One thing is certain and that is that Italy is one of the most
important objectives in Canal Plus's strategy. According to CEO Pierre
Lescure "it is our priority market". One thing is sure - it is not going to
be easy. Telepiu has currently no more than 826,000 subscribers to its
terrestrial service which is still below the 900,000 necessary in order to
start making a profit.

  The digital satellite package which launched officially last September
has only 52,000 subscribers, although estimates were that there would be at
least 100,000 by 31st December 1996. But even worse is the fact that it
seems that the predictions that by 1999 there will be one million
subscribers to the analog/terrestrial service and 1,500,000 for the digital
service seem only to be a dream. It's not a surprise then that Telepiu has
contacted a pool of banks lead by Chase Manhattan in order to obtain a loan
of 600 billion lira which would be used to finance the development of the

  It seems that the high cost of digital receivers/decoders (around 1,800
DEM) is the reason why the number of subscribers has been much lower than
expected. Two weeks ago, the managers of  Canal Plus met with the vice
prime-minister Walter Veltroni. The objective of their meeting was to
convince the government to delay the August deadline by which Telepiu would
have to abandon terrestrial transmissions to concentrate only on satellite.
This delay would be of key importance for the relaunch of the service.
Telepiu has several options in this matter.

  First of all is that it would still keep its two terrestrial services
(Tele+1 and Tele+2) and to broadcast the third service (Tele+3) only via
satellite. The other option is to keep only one terrestrial service which
would broadcast a combined movie/sports schedule. If the government agrees
to these proposals, Telepiu will commit itself to investing money in new
Italian movie productions.

  By: Branislav Pekic

(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.

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