Premiere restates subscriber figures

Premiere has published its latest subscriber numbers, in the process taking almost one million households out of its portfolio as the Germany pay-TV platform changes its methodology. Amid a profit warning, CFO Alexander Teschner has resigned. “We are conducting a thorough review of operations and are confident that this will result in a new strategic direction supported by a financially sound business plan for the future growth and profitability of Premiere,” said CEO Mark Williams in a statement.

The Munich-based company said it had adopted a new subscriber classification in line with that used by other leading pay-TV companies. Under the new methodology, Premiere had 2,411,000 direct customers as of September 30, 2008 including 2,293,000 monthly subscribers to at least one of Premiere’s channel packages and 118,000 customers who purchased pay-per-view and pre-paid services from the Premiere Flux range. The 2,293,000 figure includes residential subscribers, sports bars and hotel rooms. ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) for these subscriber stood at €24 in the third quarter.

In addition Premiere also has 704,000 wholesale customers in the third quarter, comprising 493,000 Unitymedia subscribers and the remainder through UPC Austria, Liwest, Teleclub and T-Home
The German press has focussed on the subscriber levels as one of the reasons for the departure of former CEO Michael Börnicke.
Premiere has told the financial markets that it is anticipating a full year 2008 loss of between €40 million and €70 million excluding revenues from the 2010 World Cup. The broadcaster is now in talks with its banks over a restructuring of its debt facilities.