Premiere extends Web empire

Company buys Spox stake

BERLIN — Digital pay platform Premiere continues its expansion into the Internet with Spox, a new Web portal that brings information, user interaction and live sports coverage onto one site.

The paybox will initially hold a 40% stake in the company along with an option for a majority share. Fellow shareholders include investment group Media Ventures, Manuel Lopez, former head of sales and marketing at sports portal Sport1, and Ruediger Schulze, former finance chief at ProSiebenSat 1’s multimedia division SevenOne Intermedia.

Lopez and Schulze will co-manage Spox, which is set to launch in the fall.

“With Spox, we will be starting a completely new sports portal in which the focus will be squarely on the Internet user,” said Lopez.

Spox will be primarily financed through advertising and partnerships, although pay content is also part of the equation.

Carsten Schmidt, head of Premiere’s Sports & New Business, called Spox “a further milestone in our Internet strategy,” pointing out that the new portal would benefit from Premiere’s technological and programming know-how.

Schmidt added that Spox would provide an important tool in marketing Premiere to potential new customers. “At the same time we will be able to find new target groups via the community and get them interested in Premiere as well as strengthen our Internet marketing.”

Spox is the latest online endeavor for Premiere, which last month took a majority stake in Home of Hardware (www.hoh.de), one of Germany’s leading online shops for consumer electronics and software, which the paybox plans to also use in online marketing of its pay-TV offerings.

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