Pace Gets Key Foothold In Germany

By | September 10, 2003 | Feature

Pace Micro Technology is set to become a key player in the German pay-TV market after signing a number of agreements with satellite pay-TV provider Premiere. In one agreement, Pace will supply set-top boxes (STBs) directly to Premiere. In another, Pace has been awarded a retail licence, which will enable it to retail Premiere-enabled digital satellite boxes in the German market. Heinrich Haase, Pace’s area manager for central Europe, told Interspace: “The deal with Premiere is a major step forward. We have been out in the German market for roughly three years. Pace left the German market just after analogue finished. Now, we are back and we are back with a major step forward by signing agreements with Premiere and moreover getting a purchase order from them as well. To get a foothold in the German market was a target for Pace. It allows us to restart the business.”

Premiere, the German satellite pay-TV operator has undergone something of a transformation in recent times. The operator now has around 2.7 million subscribers and while the growth rate has been slow in recent months, it is clearly on an upward curve. It has managed to reduce costs significantly in terms of programming, and has managed to negotiate far more favourable contracts with Hollywood movie studios. Pace announced its agreements with Premiere on Aug. 29.

In terms of the STB agreement, Pace will supply its DS210 digital satellite STBs to Premiere. It will start shipping boxes in January.

Perhaps the most important part of the agreements with Premiere is the opportunity to play in the retail market in Germany. Haase believes this could be a major part of Premiere’s strategy going forward. He said: “‘The retail licence agreement is especially significant for Pace as retail business is becoming a key strategy for Premiere. It is beneficial for Premiere to have STB suppliers going into the retail space and selling Premiere-approved boxes via the retail chains. I think this will be a key part of their strategy going forward.”

Pace has had financial issues over the last few months, so the opportunity to be far more involved in Europe’s biggest pay-TV market is a major plus. It hopes to use the Premiere agreements as a starting point of establishing itself in Germany. “We want to gain a foothold on the retail chain. We have appointed a distributor and they are covering 2,500 retailers in Germany. Also, we want to develop the cable operators business, which is about to start now and that is certainly a further challenge for us as a company. We have around 38 million households in Germany. Out of them, around 21 million of those are connected to cable, 12-13 million are connected to satellite and the rest are analogue/terrestrial. There is a large opportunity on the cable market,” noted Haase.

–Mark Holmes

(Contact: Amanda Duffield, Pace Micro Technology, e-mail: Amanda.Duffield@pace.co.uk)

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