U, Kirch clash over survey

Studio gets injunction against release of sub study

BERLIN — Universal Studios Networks Deutschland has succeeded in getting a Berlin court to put a temporary injunction on a controversial study to be released by the Kirch Group’s digital pay TV service Premiere World.

The telephone survey, carried out in February, sought to gauge the movie-viewing habits of Premiere World subscribers. Of Premiere World’s eight movie outlets, main channel Premiere got the best score, while U’s two digital offerings, Studio Universal and 13th Street, were the least watched, according to the study. U calls the survey misleading.

Battling continues

The court ruling is the latest legal salvo in a dispute that started in December when Kirch filed a $2 billion lawsuit against the Hollywood studio for alleged breach of contract. Kirch claims the studio has failed to supply all the films it contractually agreed to in a 10-year output deal inked in 1996.

U counter-sued, alleging Kirch hasn’t kept up its end of the bargain, namely to effectively promote and market the studio’s Teutonic pay TV channels. Universal has also been openly critical of Kirch’s dominant role in Germany’s TV market.

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