PrimaCom bites on digital

Liberty-owned cabler is on verge of being taken over

BERLIN — Financially troubled German cabler PrimaCom has launched a 22-channel digital TV platform that includes movie, video-on-demand, erotic and foreign-language outlets.

The publicly listed company, 27%-owned by John Malone’s Liberty Media, reaches 1.3 million subscribers but is heavily in debt. Its main creditors, U.S. investors Apollo and JPMorgan, are said to be on the verge of taking over its assets. PrimaCom shares have fallen more than 70% in the past six months to 39¢.

Nevertheless, PrimaCom has continued to launch new services, including broadband digital TV, video-on-demand and high-speed Internet access, in eastern German areas like Leipzig, Chemnitz and Magdeburg.

Unlike its existing regional digital TV platform PrimaTV, PrimaCom’s new digital platform Kabel!Vision is the first to be offered nationwide.

Kabel!Vision is offered on most of the PrimaCom-owned pipes. Company is also in talks with other regional cablers to carry the service on other systems.

Among the channels on offer are Universal’s Sci Fi and 13th Street and Kinowelt TV as well as the Silverline Movie Channel, which is operated by PrimaCom subsidiary and Kabel!Vision parent Decimus and airs independently produced action, horror and erotic pics.

PrimaCom remains a relatively small player compared with Kabel Deutschland, which reaches 10 million households and is seeking to acquire a further 7 million.

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