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Kirch miss promised numbers

By | January 16, 2002

      KirchPayTV’s Premiere World admitted last week that it had signed up fewer new subscribers than expected in 2001. “Growth was below our expectations,” said Premiere CFO Michael Boernicke in a statement. Hard numbers rose some 5 percent to 2.412 million from 2.28 million last year, and the company said it might lose as many as 200,000 subscribers as it completes a switch from analogue to digital transmission.

      Losses are reportedly topping 750 million euros per year. Pre-Christmas new subscriptions were said to be just 30,000 subscribers, although the company says it expects 2002 subscription growth to benefit from its World Cup coverage which it will boost with exclusive programming.

      BSkyB has a 22 percent stake in Premiere World and can exercise an option to sell its holdings back to KirchPayTV this coming October for DM3.4 billion ($1.6 billion). Reports last week from the Salomon Smith Barney media conference suggest that Rupert Murdoch will not make further investments in KirchPayTV.

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