Sky looks to add cablers

German feevee operator hopes to boost subscribers

Struggling German feevee operator Sky Deutschland is looking to expand alliances with the country’s biggest cablers and key distribution partners in an effort to boost subscriber numbers and build a united front against its biggest competitor — telco behemoth Deutsche Telekom.

Sky Deutschland topper Brian Sullivan is in negotiations with a slew of regional cable operators, including Kabel Deutschland (KDG) and Unitymedia, which together boast some 13.5 million customers, to carry Sky content.

The company is also close to inking a distribution deal with Microsoft for the software giant’s Xbox Live platform in Germany. Hooking up with the country’s leading cablers would help Sky beef up its own subscriber base, which is at around 2.47 million.

Sullivan said he was confident that negotiations with KDG and Unitymedia would be successfully concluded in the next few months.

“We want to be present on all platforms with our content,” Sullivan told German financial daily Handelsblatt, adding that the cablers were natural partners for Sky.

A partnership with Sky could result in higher revenue for the cable companies, he said. “They need high-quality content in order to compete with Deutsche Telekom. Only we can deliver that kind of content.”

The feevee operator has faced increasing competition from Deutsche Telekom, which offers fast-growing IPTV and video-on-demand services.

The telco, which has Internet rights to top league Bundesliga soccer, currently has 1.3 million subscribers and is looking to add a further 500,000 by years end with a 2015 target of 5 million customers.

In addition, Sky is hammering out a distribution deal with Microsoft that could see Sky programming offered on Xbox Live in Germany.

“The Xbox is another distribution channel for us, which is a good thing,” Sullivan said.

Sky has distribution deals with regional cablers Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg, NetCologne, KMS in Munich and Tele Columbus.

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