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Sky clears for Deutsche Telekom

After suffering a torrid end-of-year period that saw the loss of some senior executives including CEO Rene Obermann, German incumbent Deutsche Telekom has managed to hammer out a new deal with Sky Deutschland that will see the latter’s channels return to the telco’s IPTV service ‘Entertain’.

The agreement will take effect from the middle of 2013 and see the return of Sky’s complete offering, including the channels Sky Fußball Bundesliga and Sky Sport, covering all major football competitions across the Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and DFB-Pokal, as well as other exclusive sports highlights.

In addition to this sports-related content, Deutsche Telekom customers will also be able to choose from the full range of Sky packages, which include Sky Film, Sky Welt and the extensive Sky HD lineup. The agreement, which will run until mid 2017, will be rounded out by numerous joint marketing activities.

Deutsche Telekom’s mobile customers will also gain access to Sky content on their mobile devices, and a combined mobile TV offering from the two companies is described as being under development.

Brian Sullivan, CEO of Sky Deutschland, commented: “This partnership is great news for football and entertainment fans all across Germany. The agreement ensures those already watching the Bundesliga on the Telekom Entertain platform can continue to do so uninterrupted, and will also open up the full range of Sky’s award-winning sport coverage, including all live matches of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the DFB-Pokal.

“In addition, with the introduction of the complete Sky offering Entertain customers will be able to experience Sky’s market leading Sky Film, Sky Welt and Sky HD offerings for the first time. Entry into Sky’s entertainment world will be easier and more convenient than ever before.”

Deutsche Telekom had reached 1.9mn total pay-TV subscribers in Germany (served by IPTV and DTH) by the end of the third quarter of this year, up 39% from one year earlier.

The company launched a TV Everywhere service called ‘Entertain to go’ last August, giving customers access to 40 linear TV channels as well as a video-on-demand store on their mobile devices and laptops.

Editor’s view: Deutsche Telekom needs to redouble its efforts in the TV game – the company lost Gerry O’Sullivan, Global Senior Vice President of TV and Entertainment, over the holiday period at the same time as CEO Rene Obermann, and will struggle to replace these two senior executives’ combined experience.

The addition of Sky content will certainly provide a boost, but the company’s TV subscriber base languishes far behind that of market leaders KDG and Unitymedia.

Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News) calculates that Deutsche Telekom had an 8% share of the German pay-TV market by the end of June 2012, compared to 38% for KDG and 34% for Unitymedia.

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