Published: 12.26 Europe/London, May 2, 2011

The first official figures for the German HD+ mini-pay package have been released by SES Astra.

The satellite operator announced that a total of 827,000 HD+ receivers have been sold with 769,000 watching the selection of HD+ channels from some of Germany’s leading commercial broadcasters.

After a one-year trial period customers pay an annual fee of €50. The charge itself is described as a “technical service fee”, rather than a subscription to the channels themselves.

Two thirds of customers that have come to the end of the trial period then go on to pay the technical fee. Of the 172,000 viewers who had purchased an HD+ device with an HD+ card between November 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010 and used the HD+ service free of charge for a 12-month period, 66% renewed their HD+ service. Consequently the number of paying customers were paying for the service at the end of March. An additional 655,000 customers are currently using the service within the free trial period. The total number of active HD+ households thus amounted to 769,000 at the reporting date March 31, 2011.

Wilfried Urner, CEO of HD PLUS, said: “In a country where the question of whether people are willing to pay for television has been discussed for more than 20 years, the first figures of HD+ are certainly remarkable. A conversion rate of 66% is clearly above the expectations, and the active renewal of the HD+ service by so many people after one year is an outstanding result.”

The next challenge will be whether HD+ is able to maintain its conversion rate once the early adopters have filtered through the system