BERLIN — The Kirch Group’s digital pay TV service, DF1, will become part of paybox Premiere’s digital platform, a German newspaper reported Saturday. According to the Suddeutsche Zeitung, the Kirch Group and Bertelsmann-affiliated CLT-Ufa have informed media authorities that DF1 will become the Munich branch of Hamburg-based Premiere.
Kirch Group representative Johannes Schmitz confirmed that the two pay TV webs will “move closer together,” but said they will continue to be marketed independently pending approval of the Premiere-DF1 agreement by antitrust authorities.
CLT-Ufa and the Kirch Group agreed in June to join forces in developing digital TV in Germany by taking equal shares in Premiere, a premium channel with 1.5 million analog households. DF1, Germany’s first digital pay TV venture, offers viewers an extensive selection of specialty channels, but can claim only 50,000 subscribers a year after its launch.
The deal the two partners struck with cable gatekeeper Telekom AG earlier this month for access to Germany’s 17 million cable households is apparently advantageous for Premiere. The paper reports that Premiere will pay Telekom a set price of 52.5 million marks ($29 million) a year for carrying up to 50 digital channels, and will deliver only 3% of subscription revenues to Telekom. The telco had originally sought a 35% share of the digital pay TV take. Premiere will also maintain control of cable subscriber management.
While Schmitz would not confirm these figures, he told Daily Variety that Kirch and CLT-Ufa negotiated a carriage fee with Telekom that is “considerably lower” than the telco had originally sought.