New York -- Galaxy Latin America president and CEO José
Antonio Ríos revealed some upcoming plans for the Latino DirecTv service, with an eye on
the region's growing Internet use.
He said the service will offer DirectPC in the first
quarter of 1999, giving subscribers access to the World Wide Web.
Unlike DirectPC users in the United States, Latino
customers won't need new dishes because the Internet service will use the same
satellite that its TV platform uses, Galaxy 8.
DirecTv Latin America currently has 420,000 subscribers,
and Ríos hopes to boost that number next year by increasing point-of-sale locations in
the region to between 12,000 and 16,000, from the current total of 9,500. He said the
service expects to add 50 video channels in coming months to its current package of 197
video and 35 audio channels.
DirecTv's Latino competitor, Sky Latin America,
currently claims 400,000 subscribers. It plans to debut in portions of Chile in early
October, and to be available across the entire region within the next six months.
Of Sky's $1 billion commitment to build key portions
of its business, it is dedicating $60 million to develop its local Sky Chile company and
to create at least 80 positions.
Sky is a partnership between Tele-Communications
International Inc. (TINTA), Organizaçoes Globo of Brazil, Mexico's Grupo Televisa
S.A. and News Corp. GLA is owned by Hughes Electronics Corp., Venezuela's Cisneros
Group of Cos., Televisao Abril of Brazil and Mexico's MVS Multivisión.