Premiere working kinks out


More than half a year after his aggressive move into German pay TV, Rupert Murdoch's plans for Premiere are taking shape. But talk of a turnaround at the Munich-based pay platform, in which News Corp. holds a 25% stake, is decidedly premature.

Second-quarter figures released Thursday show a 19% jump in revenue to €272.4 million ($373.4 million). However, thanks largely to pricey German soccer rights, net losses increased almost 16% to €37.8 million ($58.2 million).

A bigger problem is piracy. Premiere CEO Michael Bornicke blamed German hackers for the decline in subscriber figures, which dropped 2% compared with the first quarter to 4.2 million.

Strategically, however, Premiere is on a new track. The company has launched an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at making pay TV more mass market in Germany. This includes a deal to sell prepaid subscriptions at a major discount at local Tschibo coffee outlets. (partialdiff)