Premiere adds channels for digital web relaunch

German pay TV outfit to hit market June 15

BERLIN — In preparation for the relaunch of its digital service on June 15, German pay TV web Premiere announced on Wednesday the addition of thematic channels to its digital platform.

In the coming months, Premiere Digital subscribers will receive not only a multiplexed form of Premiere’s analog programming and pay-per-view options, but also channels such as Premiere Kids, Premiere Romance and Premiere Adventure. The Hamburg-based web has applied for permission from media authorities to broadcast a total of 15 digital channels.

Premiere managing director Ferdinand Kayser said he expects authorities to issue licenses for the channels in time for the Christmas shopping season. Any further delay, Kayser stressed, “would lead to great uncertainty among consumers.”

Premiere is rushing to fill the gap left by the European Commission’s recent rejection of the pay TV alliance of Premiere shareholders CLT-Ufa and media magnate Leo Kirch. If the merger plan had been approved, some 20 channels from Kirch’s digital pay TV web DF1 would have been added to the Premiere platform. DF1 continues to operate independently, but Kirch now seems prepared to supply Premiere Digital with product from his extensive film library.

CLT-Ufa holds a 37.5% share in Premiere, while Kirch owns 25% of the web. The fate of Canal Plus’ 37.5% stake in Premiere — which it agreed to sell to the Kirch and CLT-Ufa — remains uncertain following the collapse of the proposed merger.

Following an autumn launch, Premiere Digital was pulled from the shelves last December pending the results of the EC’s merger investigation.