Market Insight

Spanish DTH operator Digital Plus ends PPV Sports offer


Spanish pay TV operator Prisa TV has scaled back its offer of pay-per-view live sports on its DTH satellite TV platform, Digital Plus. The operator has instead increased the number of football matches from La Liga aired on its premium linear channel Canal Plus to 22 matches per season from 16.

Prisa TV has launched a new channel, Canal Plus Liga 2, which is available on Digital Plus as well as Telefonica's Movistar Imagenio.

The new channel will broadcast four football matches each weekend on a subscription basis. The same matches will continue to be available on the Taquilla pay-per-view service for non-subscribers. Live league matches include those of the top two clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will international matches will be aired on both Canal Plus Liga channels, including the Bundesliga and the Dutch Eredivisie.

In total, Canal Plus is to offer eight league games, two every weekend for only €16.95 per month in contrast to the previous €13.99 per match on Digital Plus.

The termination of the live PPV sports service is not one which is surprising in the Spanish market. Following the launch of Mediapro's Gol TV in September 2008, the Spanish live PPV sports market has seen a significant decline in purchases and operator-level revenues, despite once being the major driver for Western European pay TV on-demand revenues.

Spanish Telecoms regulator, CMT, reported revenues of €10.5m in total from PPV sports in 2010 compared to €160m in 2007. The decline of live PPV sports has also been seen in the UK, where BSkyB ended its PremPlus pay-per-view coverage of the Premier League in 2007, and more recently in Italy, where Mediaset Premium is pushing to convert customers of its smart card based service to one-year packages.

The ability to access Canal Plus on multiple platforms is one which shadows that of Gol TV's strategy. Following the increase in accessibility and market reach, Prisa TV is likely to see an uplift in revenues from its premium pay channels despite the tiny loss in PPV revenues.