Exec expected to head for Stargate

BERLIN — Wolfram Winter, managing director of NBC Universal Global Networks Germany, is ankling his post at year’s end and is expected to take the reins at upstart pay TV satellite platform Stargate.

Olaf Castritius, current head of business development and strategy at NBCU Global Networks Germany and managing director of NBCU’s free-to-air web Das Vierte, will replace Winter, who has been at the company since 1998.

Winter oversaw the broadcaster through a tumultuous time in which the company changed hands several times, from Edgar Bronfman, Jr.’s Seagrams to Vivendi and, lastly, to General Electric.

Yet company’s channels — including pay webs 13th Street, Sci Fi and, as a joint venture with A&E Television Networks, the History Channel — have grown in popularity on Germany’s budding digital TV market, becoming staple outlets for the likes of paybox Premiere and regional cablers Kabel Deutschland, Ish and Ieasy.

Since launching in 2005, Das Vierte has also managed growth in Germany’s crowded free TV market, reaching a market share of just under 1% with its focus on classic Hollywood pics and ever popular series from the 1970s and 80s.

“It has been an honor to develop and manage this business for the past eight years,” Winter said in a statement. “We are an outstanding team and have achieved a great deal in a very competitive field.”

Winter, who could not be reached for comment, will reportedly take the helm of Stargate, a planned pay TV platform on satellite operator SES Astra that would offer subscribers a bundle of TV channels from diverse broadcasters and content providers.

Roland Steindorf, former topper of German cabler Kabel Deutschland (KDG), is overseeing the project, which is aiming to launch next year on Astra’s digital platform Entavio.

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