Premium television (sometimes "
pay television" in North America) generally refers to a class of commercial-free televisionservices which are available for subscriptionthrough cable and satellite televisionfor fees much higher than traditional, packaged cable networks or specialty channels.
Historically, premium services consisted of single feeds distributed on encrypted analog channels. Modern premium services have grown to include several "multiplex" channels and, in some cases, a
video-on-demandservice, and are distributed via digital means. In most cases they show movies throughout the day, with occasional original series, sports events, and other specials. Pay per viewprovides similar material without subscription, usually at a higher premium.
Unlike other cable networks, premium services are almost always subscribed to individually, meaning that one can, for example, subscribe to
HBOwithout subscribing to Showtime(In Canada, there are slight modifications, as most providers include U.S. superstations with their main premium package by default). However, subscribing to an "individual" service automatically includes access to all of that service's available multiplex channels and, in some cases, access to content via video-on-demand.
Due to their high subscription fees, premium television services are generally the most profitable services in their respective territories.
Partial list of premium services
Australia- Movie Network, Showtime Australia
Brazil- Globo's Telecine, Globo News, HBO, SporTV
Canada- The Movie Network, Movie Central, Super Écran
France- Canal+(the first terrestrial pay television channel created in Europe in 1984)
Germany- Premiere, Kabel Digital, Arena
Mexico- Televisa's Cinecanal
Portugal- TV Cabo's TVCine's 4 movie channels, SportTV
United Kingdom- Sky Movies
United States- HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Starz, Encore
*Cable television programming
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