A dispute regarding carriage conditions has broken out between Sky Deutschland and Discovery Networks Deutschland which could lead to Eurosport 1 HD, Eurosport 2 HD, Eurosport 360 HD and Discovery Channel being removed from the German pay-TV platform on February 1, 2017.
The ongoing contract negotiations have not led to a mutual result yet, Discovery Networks Deutschland said in a statement, adding that the company was therefore considering the termination of the distribution of its channels on the Sky Deutschland platform.
“We regret that our fans have to face this disappointing scenario,” Susanne Aigner-Drews, managing director of Discovery Networks Deutschland, said in Munich. The broadcaster therefore informs the Sky viewers on its channels tonight about the possible termination of the distribution of its channels on Sky Deutschland.
The background is a dispute regarding carriage conditions that also flared up in the UK. Sky UK said today that it is ending its contract with Discovery, blaming an impasse over negotiations on price.
“We, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic,” a Sky UK spokesman said, adding that the broadcaster has therefore taken the decision not to renew this contract on the terms offered. “We have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore,” said the spokesman, adding that the company would invest in other content.
In Germany, however, the door is still open, as indicated in the statement by local managing director Susanne Aigner-Drews: “We hope that we will be able to reach a positive result in the negotiations with Sky and continue our long-standing partnership.”
The German market is of particular significance to Discovery as Eurosport will show the Olympic Games exclusively from 2018 after the negotiations with public broadcasters ARD and ZDF to sublicense rights failed. Eurosport also secured an exclusive domestic Bundesliga rights package from the 2017/18 season.
Besides Eurosport 1 and 2 and Discovery Channel, Discovery also operates pay-TV channel Animal Planet in Germany, but it is not offered on the Sky Deutschland platform. Uniquely in Europe, Eurosport 1 SD is a free-to-air channel in Germany, but the HD version is only available on subscription platforms. The local Discovery portfolio also comprises men’s channel DMAX and women’s channel TLC, both offered as free-to-air services.
UPDATE [January 26, 2017, 13.30 CET]: Sky Deutschland issued the following statement: “As usual in business relationships, we don’t publicly comment on negotiations. We have been talking to Discovery for some time. In this context, as in any agreement we conclude, we aim for our customers to receive the best possible content in the way they prefer. We will inform our customers in time about the outcome of these negotiations.”