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Eutelsat's KabelKiosk gains Disney and Discovery

Eutelsat's German direct-to-cable platform KabelKiosk will expand its channel and service platform for cable operators with new offerings from US broadcasters Walt Disney and Discovery.

The move was announced by the satellite operator at its New Year 2013 reception in Berlin.

Discovery Channel HD will launch on KabelKiosk on 1 March 2013, KabelKiosk's managing director Martina Rutenbeck announced. Discovery documentaries will also be added to the video-on-demand (VOD) line-up of interactive multimedia platform KabelKiosk Choice. The VOD service will in future also contain movies, TV series and cartoons from Disney. Both partners will provide their content in standard as well as high definition (HD).

KabelKiosk managed to win Deutsche Telekom as a new distribution platform for its channels, Rutenbeck told Rapid TV News. Germany's national telco recently re-entered the cable market and provides the housing industry with analogue and digital TV channels, Internet and telephony services. Its first large partner is Deutsche Annington, which connected 20,000 apartments to Telekom's TV service two weeks ago. Sky Deutschland's pay-TV offering is also part of the line-up.

Eutelsat also celebrated two anniversaries at its New Year reception. 30 years ago, Sky Channel was the first TV channel on a Eutelsat satellite. The channel was distributed to cable head networks in the UK in analogue on Eutelsat's 13° east position. And ten years ago, KabelKiosk started its service. The line-up back then comprised 20 foreign language channels fed to cable headends through two transponders. Now, KabelKiosk carries around 30 channels, 20 of which are in HD, which reach a total of around 3.8 million households.

KabelKiosk now counts over 300 platform providers taking its services, according to Rutenbeck. She sees a growing need from city carriers which want to provide their customers with a TV package through their well upgraded fibre optic networks - both to tie customers to their services and to refinance the high investments in their networks. In particular, for KabelKiosk Choice, Rutenbeck sees good prospects from city carriers.

Another announcement made in Berlin was a new contract signed with German Internet via satellite operator skyDSL which will considerably stock up its capacity on Eutelsat's KA-SAT satellite at 9° east. Through skyDSL, households and business customers in Germany and other European countries with insufficient broadband coverage via ADSL or cable networks can obtain high speed Internet access with a data rate of up to 20Mbps at prices comparable with conventional ADSL subscriptions, Jan Hesse, skyDSL managing director, said. He expects the quality of Internet access to increasingly come into the focus along with the question of speed. With its direct hook-up to the Internet backbone, satellite would be ideally suited to ensure that customers actually end up with the bandwidth they are promised.

The New Year reception also marked the farewell of Volker Steiner, whom CEO Michel de Rosen thanked for his long-term contributions to Eutelsat and the satellite industry with touching words. The farewell speech was held by Norbert Schneider, the former director of German media authority Landesanstalt für Medien, who looked back at Steiner's career in a humorous and thoughtful way. As an advisor for strategic issues, Steiner will continue to be committed to Eutelsat. Rutenbeck who has been heading Eutelsat's German subsidiary in Cologne together with Steiner will be the sole managing director in future, while at KabelKiosk, Alessandro Lanfranconi is co-managing director.

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