In what seems to be a change of strategy, the German pay TV platform Premiere-Sky is to push direct-to-home satellite subscriptions.
Until now, the ‘old’ Premiere has put equal emphasis on both its cable and satellite subscribers, but the new packaging structure means that DTH subscribers will benefit from more channels, and additional tiers.
Satellite homes will have the added benefit of being able to receive dozens of free-to-air channels, such as the majority of German public and commercial broadcasters as well as a number of international channels, without paying a basic subscription fee.
The Premiere Star DTH bouquet, which is currently sold separately, is being renamed Sky Welt Extra (World Extra) and will be given at no additional cost to subscribers to Sky Welt and any additional tier (e.g. Sky Sport or Sky Film).
The Sky Welt Extra bouquet will exclusively be available on satellite. A number of the channels belonging to Sky Welt and Welt Extra are also available on cable, but as part of premium offers by the cable operators themselves.
There is some doubt as to whether all the cable operators will be able to offer to full line-up of HD channels within Sky’s new six-channel bouquet due to capacity restrictions on the networks.
The full line-up of channels of Sky Welt comprises of Sky Krimi (Police and detective series), Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Spiegel Geschichte (History), Focus Gesundheit (Body & mind channel), Motorvision TV, Sci Fi, RTL Crime, 13th Street, TNT Serie, Fox, Passion, Heimatkanal, Goldstar TV, Classica, Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney, Junior, Jetix, beate-uhse.tv (adult) as well as a number of audio channels from Music Choice.
The line-up of Welt Extra has not yet been announced, but will have 18 channels including History, Biography Channel, Romance TV, Kinowelt TV (German movie channel), TNT Film (ehemals TCM, MTV, ESPN America, E-Clips, AXN and Animax.
According to the German website Digital Fernsehen, Premiere/Sky is also preparing an installation service along the line of BSkyB in the UK. The operator is currently building a dealer network with about 700 retailers.
See also Broadband TV News passim for more details on the Premiere/Sky offer, which will launch on July 4.