Mediaset launches Premium on Demand

By Julian Clover
November 19, 2009 11.10 UK

Mediaset has announced plans to introduce a 160 GB PVR to its Mediaset Premium offer, also adding a new VOD service to the terrestrial platform.

The new Premium on Demand would offer a catalogue of 50 first run films, refreshed at the rate of two a day. In addition a catch-up service would offer the most popular series for a week after their initial transmission. “We are the first to do this kind of offer,” said Mediaset deputy chairman Pier Silvio Berlusconi. He emphasised that the product ran from a standard TV aerial and did not require a satellite dish or ADSL connection. No additional fees will be required over and above the regular subscription. “Premium on Demand is not pay-per-view, but the possibility of seeing a film as and when you want.”

The new PVR will go on sale at around €139 and will use progressive download technology similar to that deployed by the UK’s Top Up TV. An unnamed German company has manufactured the device that Mediaset hopes will sell 100,000 units before the end of the year.

A first phase will deliver 12 new titles per week and early in 2010 HD content will also be included. In addition, two new pay channels will be added to the DTT bouquet: PremiumCinema Emotion and PremiumCinema Energy.

Berlusconi anticipated 2010 would bring EBIT breakeven for Mediaset Premium and potentially a modest profit. The combination of pre-paid and, increasingly, subscriptions, would deliver revenues in excess of €550 million. He said Mediaset Premium would reach 4.5 million households during 2010, an increase from the present 3.4 million.

The company is looking to take advantage of the analogue switch off currently underway in Rome and scheduled to complete in 2012. The two-pronged strategy sees Mediaset using DTT for its premium content while maintaining its involvement in the free-to-air satellite platform TivuSat.