Russia's National Broadcasting Company Launches 12 Pay-TV Channels on Eutelsat W4 Satellite

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On May 7th, Russian broadcaster National Broadcasting Company announced the launch of 12 new channels on the W4 satellite of Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) in order to expand development of its Tricolor television platform.

The channels have been launched following signature in 1 February 2007 of a contract for the lease of a second transponder on W4 between Eutelsat and RSCC, acting on behalf of National Broadcasting Company.

Launched in Russia in 2005 as a free package of 15 channels accessed via a decoder developed and commercialised by General Satellite, the Tricolor platform today serves an audience of 800,000 homes. With buoyant receiver sales since the beginning of 2007, Tricolor forecasts audience growth to 1.2 million homes by the end of the year. Tricolor's main target are the estimated 50 million viewers in western parts of Russia (up to and including the Urals) living in rural areas with limited offer of channels through terrestrial reception. The platform was launched in November 2005 on one transponder on Eutelsat's W4 satellite as a subscription-free digital package of Russian national and regional channels with the only cost being the receiver. Boosted by rapid receiver sales, Tricolor is now moving into the second phase of its development with the launch of 12 new
channels available in low-cost thematic packages.

Called Optimum, this new offer is commercialised in six packages branded Optimum, each containing two channels with the same theme.

Commenting on the launch of Optimum, Mordachev Viacheslav, CEO of National Broadcasting Company said: "With strong demand from Russian television viewers for new digital channels we are convinced that the new offer we have assembled will be a popular choice. Our subscription packages also constitute a new platform for Russian and international content providers to reach into television homes in Russia".

Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat added: "In less than two years, the Tricolor platform has built an impressive audience by targeting television homes in rural areas who have only the limited choice of channels delivered by terrestrial networks. This success underscores the unique asset of ubiquitous coverage which is afforded by satellites, combined with scalability to efficiently support expansion of TV platforms at national and regional levels. Tricolor's achievements also further consolidate our W4 satellite at 36 degrees East as a key contributor to developing Russia's highly dynamic broadcasting market." -Eutelstat Communications