Cellcom TV seeks to entice sports fans

Nir Sztern  picture: Tamar Mitzpi

Breaking Hot and Yes's duopoly on premium sports channels is a move with strategic consequences for Cellcom.

Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) is expanding its sports offering on its Cellcom TV television platform. The platform will now offer the RGE group's sports channels, among them Sport 5, Sport+ 5, Sport +5 LIVE, Sport +5 Gold, Sport i5, and Sport 5 HD. Up to now, the only sports channel in Cellcom's package has been One HD.

The company announced this morning that it would include two sports channels (55 and 56) in its basic package without payment, and that the premium channels would be offered for an additional NIS 52 monthly, in a similar fashion to the existing packages offered by HOT Telecommunication Systems Ltd. (TASE: HOT) and Yes. Cellcom already broadcasts the One sports channel in its package.

RGE broadcasts the Champions League, the main Premier League football game and two additional games each week, the Israeli Basketball Super League, the NBA, the Italian and French football leagues, and major tennis tournaments. Up to now, the major sports channels have been broadcast only to cable and satellite subscribers, and breaking their exclusivity has strategic consequences.

One of the main reasons that many viewers have hesitated to buy Cellcom's television services has been the fact that sports broadcasts were not part of the package. This meant that despite prices of NIS 96 per month for television only and NIS 149 for the triple package (telephone, Internet and television) many sports fans would not forego sports broadcasts and so did not join Cellcom TV.

As mentioned, besides channels 55 and 56 that are now part of the basic package, Cellcom will charge NIS 52 monthly for the rest of the premium sports channels, including channels 57 and 58 and the HD channel.

Cellcom CEO Nit Sztern said, "There are no more excuses. Now armchair athletes too can enjoy the benefits of Cellcom's television revolution. From today, hundreds of thousands more Israeli households can join up and enjoy high quality television with advanced technology, rich VOD content, and a wide variety of channels, and also popular sports channels, all for NIS 99 per month."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 15, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Nir Sztern  picture: Tamar Mitzpi
Nir Sztern picture: Tamar Mitzpi
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