Helsinki, Finland -- The Nordic arm of Canal Plus S.A.,
Europe's top pay TV company, is aiming to expand its programming lineup in the
region, and it hopes to snag a digital-terrestrial-television license in Finland.
The company will launch a new pan-Nordic channel this
September, Canal Plus Blue, which will feature sports and movies.
Canal Plus Blue will be added to the company's current
Nordic lineup: Canal Plus, which transmits separate feeds for Denmark, Finland, Norway and
Sweden; and Canal Plus Yellow, a pan-Nordic network.
At the same time, Canal Plus hopes to be a winner in
Finland's ongoing DTT-license auction. The auction should be completed in time for
new channels to launch ahead of next year's Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Canal Plus Finland applied for only one DTT channel, and it
is confident that it will win a license, said Juha Silvennoinen, CEO of Canal Digital,
Canal Plus' Nordic unit.
Silvennoinen added that the DTT programming could include
U.S. and local films, and he's currently in talks with Finnish television and film
companies to secure programming rights.
Finland has about 920,000 cable households, 400,000
satellite-master-antenna-television (SMATV) homes and 300,000 direct-to-home satellite
households. Silvennoinen estimated that DTT could grab an additional 700,000 households.
Canal Digital is also eyeing the development of additional
programming services that it could use on a pan-Nordic scale, including home shopping and
home banking services.