Premiere mulls shift in set-top business model

Premiere is considering a shift towards a vertical market for its set-top boxes similar to that used by News Corp-owned pay-TV platforms. Several hundred thousand subscribers could be affected by the move that would see the current inventory replaced by a new HD compatible model. According to the German news magazine Focus, the current horizontal model no longer fits with Premiere’s strategy. Instead customers would rent the new box direct from the Munich-based company.

The proposals outlined by Focus have similarities with the business model used by Sky in the UK. Customers purchase their box, either when signing up to Sky for the first time or more likely upgrading to Sky+, the box is then tied to the smart card meaning that it cannot be used with any other receiver.
Premiere introduced new set-top boxes incorporating the NDS MediaHighway services in August 2006, but to date it has not taken advantage of the advanced features of the News Corp technology.