BERLIN — Former SBS Broadcasting topper Markus Tellenbach, Sky Italia’s chief executive Thomas Mockridge and management board member Mark Andrew Williams will be joining Premiere’s supervisory board at the pay platform’s annual shareholders meeting on June 12.
The paybox has confirmed plans to expand its supervisory board in the wake of Rupert Murdoch’s recent acquisition of 22.7% in the company.
The board member designates have sparked speculation that Premiere will intensify efforts to break into the German free TV market.
Premiere topper Michael Boernicke has said the company is eager to expand into free TV and was eying ProSiebenSat1’s troubled web Sat1 for a possible takeover.
Although ProSiebenSat1 has said the channel is not for sale, the company was shaken by a major first-quarter loss due to Sat1’s continuingly poor performance as well as difficulties arising from the German TV ad market due to the implementation of a new advertising sales model.
As a result, local observers see a strong possibility that the company may soon be ready to sell off a major asset.
With Tellenbach on its supervisory board, Premiere would have a manager with extensive experience in both free and pay TV. Tellenbach not only ran Premiere when it was controlled by former owner Leo Kirch, but also German channel Vox, when Murdoch was one of its main shareholders.
ProSiebenSat1 took over SBS last year.