NTV PLUS, RUSSIA'S PREMIER PAY-TV PLATFORM LAUNCHES ITS HDTV OFFER VIA EUTELSAT'S W4 SATELLITE
Paris, 27 April 2007
NTV-Plus announced today at a press conference in Moscow the launch of new premium HDTV services which will be available through the W4 satellite operated by Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL). The HD launch follows the signatures inked in October and November 2006 between Eutelsat and Intersputnik, on behalf of NTV Plus, of new contracts for four transponders on W4. The new capacity was secured to support the launch of new HDTV services by NTV-Plus to add to its growing stable of Standard Digital channels and services.
The HDTV offer, which is the first in Russia, will further consolidate the NTV-Plus platform which assembles over 100 Russian and international digital channels. NTV-Plus today serves a subscriber base of more than 560,000 homes in Russia and the Ukraine, representing more than 1.5 million viewers. Under the Chairmanship of Dmitry Samokhin, the Group employs more than 900 broadcast professionals.
The initial HDTV offer supplied by NTV-Plus will comprise three channels: HD Kino (cinema), HD Sport and HD Life. HD Kino and HD Sport are produced by NTV-Plus while HD Life is produced by the Russian company Red Media for NTV-Plus. All HD content will be broadcast using MPEG4 compression which means that subscribers to the new offer will exchange their existing decoder for a new decoder able to receive Standard Digital and HD content via an HDMI port. NTV-Plus’s objective is to capture between 10,000 and 20,000 HD
subscribers by the end of 2007, taking advantage of the fast take-up in Russia of flat-screen displays since 2005 of which the vast majority are HD-Ready. NTV-Plus anticipates that subscribers will in particular be attracted by sports events in 2007 filmed and broadcast in HD, in advance of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The broadcaster has invested $3.5 million in new production and broadcast equipment to support this new phase of expansion.
Dmitry Samokhin, CEO of NTV-Plus said, "We see our company as both creative and innovative. We aim to provide our customers the best possible offer in terms of content and quality. We are the first in the Russian pay- TV market to launch HDTV, and we are sure that our viewers will appreciate the superiority of HDTV format".
For Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat: "We are delighted to further cement our relationship with NTV-Plus which goes back to 2000 when Russia’s pioneering pay-TV platform was the first to broadcast from our W4 satellite. As the leader of digital pay-TV in Russia, NTV-Plus is now strengthening its commitment to innovation with the initiation of the HDTV market. The commercial success of NTV-Plus further consolidates the strength of our W4 satellite which addresses one of today’s most dynamic broadcast markets.”
About NTV Plus
NTV-Plus is Russia’s first commercial pay-TV operator, broadcasting services by satellite across all of European Russia and the Ukraine. NTV-Plus went on air on 1 September 1996, when its first fully-owned analogue channel, Nashe Kino (Our Cinema) started broadcasting. By December 1997, four channels were broadcasting: Nashe Kino, Mir Kino (Cinema World), NTV-Plus Sport and Detsky Mir (Children’s World). On February 1, 1999, the company started digital broadcasts of all its channels. Today, the NTV–Plus platform assembles more than 100 Russian and international channels and is now launching Russia’s first HD services with three channels. The platform serves 560,000 homes, equivalent to more than 1.5 million viewers, and employs over 900 people.
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