Sullivan: Sky Deutschland EBITDA positive in 2011

By Robert Briel
April 19, 2010 11.09 UK

Barely three weeks in the job, Sky Deutschland’s new CEO Brian Sullivan said he expects the company to be EBITDA positive in 2011. “I believe in the potential growth of pay television in Germany,” he told the German FAZ newspaper.

“… every pay-TV market is different. BSkyB is now probably the best pay-TV broadcaster in the world, many people might now have forgotten that it was a hard way to get there. There are similarities and differences [between the UK and Germany]. But of course, BSkyB has been there for more than 20 years, with very different starting conditions. At that time in England there were only four free-to-air channels, today there are 60 terrestrial and more than 100 satellite channels. Nevertheless, BSkyB won more viewers, because the quality of the program and customer service are simply much more attractive than the competition. This is the lesson I take with me to Germany.”

Last year, Sky got competition on the football front from Deutsche Telekom, who won the IPTV rights to the Bundesliga and now claims 1 million subscribers with a set-top box. Not all of them subscribe to the football offer. “It is certainly true that Telekom has a lot of money and tried to make a popular TV offering. But the football fan only sees the games of the Bundesliga and nothing more, no Champions League, no Europa League, no DFB Cup. And by the way: When a viewer compares the Telecom subscription with that of Sky, he will find that he pays much more.”

Sullivan is hopeful Sky can succeed in Germany, “but I am not naive, the challenges are enormous. We still have to put the focus more on customers than before. We must explain to the customer that he gets the best TV from us and we offer value for money. And we need to define our distinguishing features more clearly. Take for example HD: we already offer the viewer seven HD channels, as many as anyone else, and this summer there will be four more HD channels. “