Failed Starmax prepares to relaunch into Spanish market

After a failed launch earlier this year, Spain’s low-cost DTH platform Starmax has a new management team in place and is preparing to relaunch by the end of the year.

In new research on low-cost pay-TV platforms published this week by DTVE Daily owner Informa Telecoms & Media, Bradley Herrmann, who is leading a new team of advisors to Starmax, said the company was hoping to relaunch in the fourth quarter of the year, with between 12 and 20 channels.

Starmax launched a low-cost pre-pay platform offering 12 channels on March 29, but suspended the service at the beginning of July. The team behind the initial launch, including Maciej Sojka, the former CEO of Poland’s ‘n’ platform, has been replaced by a new team that is being advised by a group of executives experienced in pay-TV, including former Ono CEO Richard Alden and John Arciszewski, former chief executive of Polish cable operator Aster.

Speaking about the failed launch of Starmax, Herrmann told Informa Telecoms & Media that the original business plan was “probably overambitious”. He said there weren’t any set-tops in shops in time for the start of the ad campaign, meaning the campaign had to be cut short, and the initial channel line-up was not strong enough. However, Herrmann added that there was a gap in the market for “a compact, affordable package of general channels which appeal across a range of family interests” and that the positioning of the product as a low-cost pay-TV option with no contractual commitment was “absolutely right” and something that “people are crying out for”.

The relaunch plan is due to be completed early next month, at which time Starmax’s shareholders, who have already funded the development of the new plan, are expected to commit money to a relaunch that is expected to take place by the end of the year. The platform is likely to have pricing similar to the original version, with rechargeable pre-pay cards sold for €28 for two months or €120 for a year – a respective monthly price of €14 and €10.

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