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This article was updated at 9:00 p.m. PT on August 6, 2003.

BERLIN — German pay TV broadcaster Premiere maintained its steady revenue climb of the past year and managed to cut its losses by 69% to e110.4 million ($125.4 million) in the first half of the year.

Premiere, once the biggest money-losing asset of former media mogul Leo Kirch — and the one that triggered the group’s bankruptcy last year — boosted revs 26% to $535 million and upped subscribers 12% to just under 2.7 million by June. It added another 15,000 to that figure by the end of July. The number of subscription cancellations was down 14%.

Gaining subs quickly

Company topper Georg Kofler said Premiere was attracting subs faster than expected, adding that the broadcaster’s “development shows that the goal of reaching profitability by the first quarter of next year is realistic.”

The broadcaster attributed $13.6 million of its net loss to one-time restructuring expenses, which lowered overall operating costs by 24% to $552 million.

Programming costs were slashed by 40% to $300 million. “We have managed to improve the quality of Premiere Film and Premiere Sport with a smaller budget,” Kofler said.

Deals renegotiated

Premiere has renegotiated programming deals with Hollywood studios and has secured deals with MGM, Warners, DreamWorks, Fox, Disney and Universal. It is expected to ink a wide-ranging output agreement with Sony in coming weeks.

Company has also reworked sports licensing deals for the German national soccer league and European UEFA Champions League soccer as well as Formula One motor racing.

News comes a day after billionaire Haim Saban struck a deal to pick up Kirch’s multichannel terrestrial TV division, ProSiebenSat 1.

Kirch’s creditor banks want to recoup billions in loans to Kirch, much of which was sucked up by Premiere while it was under Kirch’s management.