Feevee’s not flying

Kirch frustrated over pay TV performance

BERLIN — Execs at media conglom Kirch Group have admitted that they are unhappy with their faltering pay TV service Premiere World, adding that it has taken longer to develop than had been anticipated.

Kirch deputy chief Dieter Hahn told German daily Sueddeutschen Zeitung that Premiere was lagging far behind the company’s original projections, but he expected a breakthrough in a year and a half.

He added that the Web had experienced strong growth in the past 18 months despite Germany’s large free TV market.

More than 2 million viewers subscribe to Premiere’s multichannel digital service. Kirch needs another 2 million to call the venture a success, Hahn said. “If you grow beyond that you get a very good result even compared with the relatively high startup costs,” he added.

Premiere World is a unit of division Kirch Media, which also includes Kirch’s commercial TV channels, licensing operations, sports production and media technology units.

The Munich-based media empire is looking to float Kirch Media but postponed its initial public offering this year. Hahn cited the poor state of equity markets, adding that the flotation would occur in 2002 or 2003.

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