Premiere Receives Double Boost In Germany
Premiere, the Germany pay-TV operator, continues to show strong signs of progress as its rehabilitation continues. In November, the operator had a net growth of 50,000 subscribers, pushing it beyond the 2.5 million subscriber mark. To put this in perspective, in November 2001, Premiere only added 7,000 subscribers. These latest results were announced Dec. 3.
Georg Kofler, Premiere’s CEO, is certain the subscriber growth trend will continue. He said in a statement: “We are confident that we will be able to exceed our target for new customers in December as well. Those who expect more of television will decide in favour of Premiere”
The subscriber numbers are especially impressive given that Premiere has substantially reduced costs in 2002. In particular, Kofler has been adept at negotiating lower cost deals with major Hollywood studios. It has an impressive movie offering, yet is now paying far less than it has done in the past. There are around 30 million TV households in Germany, so there is great potential for Premiere to significantly increase its customer base further still.
Bernard Tubeileh, an independent media equity analyst in Germany, told Interspace: “I think it is positive news for Premiere. It is not that surprising to me because I thought at the outset, when Kofler joined in the summer, that he had a very good programme … If anyone was to succeed at turning Premiere into a profit generating company, then it was Kofler … His cost-cutting and restructuring programme was the way to do it. We now have a very successful business development.”
Tubelieh believes one of the biggest changes is how customers view Premiere. He added: “The Premiere package is no longer seen as a loser package. It is seen as ‘why-shouldn’t- we-buy-it-also’ package. I think this is a very important point. I don’t think it has this loser image anymore. Under Kirch, Premiere always had a kind of loser image. It was a loss-making company, and people were saying that it would never live. It had the image of a completely ill-fated enterprise, and I think customers were affected by that.”
There is more good news for Premiere. Reports in the local press suggest that Premiere’s search for a new financial investor is coming to an end. It seems likely that Frankfurt-based investment group Permira will buy into Premiere. A spokesperson refused to confirm whether Permira was indeed the party close to buying Premiere, but did indicate to Interspace that the investment group hoped Premiere’s future would be resolved by the end of the year.
— Mark Holmes