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Premiere push pays

Teutonic paybox sees healthy subscriber growth

BERLIN — Coinciding with Rupert Murdoch’s upbeat predictions for the German pay-TV market voiced on Thursday in Australia, Teutonic paybox Premiere World announced it has broken the 2 million subscriber benchmark after winning some 110,000 customers since relaunch Oct. 1.

The digital pay-TV venture is the result of the merger of the pay-TV web Premiere and the Kirch Group’s digital pay-TV web DF-1. Not all subscribers are for the digital service.

Speaking at the News Corp. annual general meeting in Adelaide Thursday, Murdoch confirmed earlier reports that a share swap between Premiere and Murdoch’s 40%-owned British pay-TV outfit BSkyB is under discussion.

“Premiere World has a chance of becoming bigger than BSkyB. After all, it is broadcast in a country with 50% more homes than there are in Britain and a higher average income per home,” Murdoch said.

The global mogul had previously confirmed talks with the Kirch Group but declined to give further details.

Horizons may open

Such a move may eventually lead to a wider pay TV alliance in Europe with Murdoch at the center.

Kirch’s closest European ally, the Italian giant Mediaset, has already said that if and when it decides to re-enter the pay-TV market, it would work in sync with its German partner.

German reports suggest that alongside Premiere, Murdoch would also get a stake in the Kirch-backed Swiss pay-TV venture Teleclub.

Murdoch previously backed out of taking a proposed stake in Kirch’s digital pay-TV web DF-1.

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