German pay-TV provider Premiere has reached a new marketing and distribution agreement with rival Arena. The pact, which sees Arena take a 16.7% stake in the company, will also return live coverage of the Bundesliga to Premiere screens. “Premiere is once again the home of Bundesliga for fans – and with more options to view Premiere than ever before: via satellite, cable and IPTV,” said CEO Georg Kofler.
While an independent financial institution will oversee Arena’s shareholding to ensure that it has no material influence over Premiere’s strategy, the door must be seen as being open to increased investment and a possible merger at some point in the future.
Premiere already had an agreement in place to market Arena’s Bundesliga coverage to the cable market, agreed after the programming arm of cable operator secured the rights to screen Germany’s top flight football. Under a ten-year agreement, Premiere has secured cable distribution in the Unity Media terrirories of North-Rhine Westphalia and Hesse until end of 2017.
Premiere has also announced its latest subscriber numbers and financial results. As of December 31, 2006 there were 3,409,990 subscribers to the platform, a net increase of 36,058. However, losses widened to €9.8m from the previous loss of €3.3m.