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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 09, 2009

Viasat's Pay-TV Packages to be Sold Through Elion's Broadband Network in Estonia

By Raja Singh Chaudhary, TMCnet Contributor

Modern Times Group, or ‘MTG’, an international entertainment broadcasting group, has announced that its Viasat Broadcasting division has entered a four-year agreement with Elion, a broadband and IPTV (News - Alert) services provider in Estonia.
According to the agreement, from the end of October 2009, Viasat will be able to sell its pay-TV channel packages to the 175,000 broadband customers of Elion, out of which 88,000 are IPTV subscribers. The free TV channels being offered by Viasat in Estonia, which are TV3, TV6 and 3+ will also be available to the ‘digiTV’ subscribers of Elion through the platform’s existing IPTV packages. These three channels had a combined commercial share of viewing of 39.7 percent in second quarter of 2009.
MTG claims a huge geographical broadcast footprint in Europe, and its Viasat Broadcasting offers free-TV and satellite premium pay-TV services in Scandinavia and the Baltics, apart from operating free-TV channels in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia Bulgaria, Macedonia and Ghana.
In May 2008, MTG had entered a similar partnership with Telia in Sweden, while it has already signed IPTV agreements with ten broadband network operators in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Apart from the free TV channels, the pay TV packages of Viasat will also be available to Elion’s customers, for which they will have to pay Estonian Kroon or ‘EEK’ 99 per month to EEK 305 per month. The company will offer its premium package on Elion’s IPTV network, including the Viasat Gold package of 12 Viasat channels and 25 third party channels. Elion is an IPTV and provider in Estonia, and claims a 54 percent share of the total number of broadband subscribers and 100 percent of the IPTV subscribers in the nation.
According to Hans-Holger Albrecht, president and CEO of MTG, the agreement Viasat has signed with Elion is the latest step in the roll-out of company’s ‘anytime anywhere’ strategy, whereby it seeks to make its free-TV channels as broadly available as possible, apart from attracting subscribers to its pay-TV content on multiple distribution platforms.
Albrecht added that Elion is the number one broadband and IPTV operator in Estonia, and this deal highlights the demand for Viasat’s portfolio of high-rating free-TV channels and popular premium pay-TV content. He noted that IPTV distribution is complementary to Viasat’s own DTH satellite platform because it targets new homes that the company has not been able to reach before.
Recently, ViaSat received a $46 million contract award from Star Satellite Communications Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Al Yah Satellite Communications Company, to supply Ka-band networking equipment and operations support for Yahsat high-speed Internet access.
Raja Singh Chaudhary is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raja's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri