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Swiss Teleclub Holds On To Digital Plans

By | April 24, 2002

      The bankruptcy of German media company Kirch Group won’t have any direct consequences for Teleclub for the moment since the Swiss pay-TV channel, in which Kirch Group owns a 40 percent stake, has not been included in the bankruptcy proceedings.

      In a statement, the Zurich-based broadcaster explained that, despite the troubled German media group being an important minority shareholder, Teleclub is an “autonomously managed Swiss company” that is “financially independent” from Kirch Group and enjoys a “healthy financial and liquidity basis.” Teleclub adds that, although Kirch Group is one of its sources for movies, the content delivery is secured in the long term with the only possible changes that subscribers could face lying within the thematic channels Teleclub intends to offer in its planned digital package.

      Some channels form part of Kirch Group’s ill-fated German pay-TV platform Premiere, therefore any changes that might occur in the neighbouring country could also affect Teleclub. However, the pay-TV channel, which currently has 85,000 analogue subscribers, stresses that the launch of its digital packages, which is planned for May 1, is not endangered.

      The digital platform will consist of three offers. “Teleclub Movie” comprises four movie channels: Teleclub Cinema (30 movies as TV premieres per month), Teleclub Star (movies as repeats), Premiere Serie (soap operas, sci-fi, cult, fantasy and comedy series) and Krimi & Co (dramas, thrillers and detective series). “Teleclub Family” targets the whole family with the Disney Channel, Fox Kids and Discovery Channel, while “Teleclub Sports” contains the three sports channels Premiere Sport 1, 2 and 3. These channels offer Formula 1 racing, live games from the German first division football league, international football, tennis, boxing, golf, ice hockey and American sports. The digital package will be gradually rolled out to cable households in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, but a satellite transmission to DTH homes is not currently envisaged.

      Teleclub has decided to use the Nagravision encryption system and the set-top-boxes necessary to receive the service will be issued to subscribers free of charge. The monthly subscription costs amount to between 39.90 Swiss francs (27.20 euros; $24.2) and 59.90 Swiss francs (40.80 euros; $36.3), depending on the individual package combination the subscriber chooses. All subscribers who are unable to receive the digital bouquet because their cable network doesn’t yet carry it will from May receive Teleclub Cinema in analogue, which replaces the current Teleclub channel. The channel will be available for 35 Swiss francs (23.90 euros; $28.28) per month.

      Jorn Krieger

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