Focus TV puts pay-TV plans on ice

German TV production company Focus TV has put its plan to launch two further pay-TV channels on ice for the time being. No carriage deals with platform providers could be signed, managing director Matthias Pfeffer told trade industry news service DWDL.

“Like all market players, we have to develop realistic business plans in which distribution plays a core role. However, it is our impression that providers are currently not open to attractive offers,” Pfeffer criticised.

The TV subsidiary of German publishing house Burda wanted to launch a travel channel and a house and garden channel this year. In Pfeffer’s view, the conditions for new pay-TV channels aren’t as good as they used to be. “It is currently difficult to launch a new service as platform providers increasingly form a bottleneck through which it’s not easy for content providers to go.”

Pfeffer criticises that the channels onboard the pay-TV packages offered by Germany’s large cable operators such as Kabel Deutschland aren’t always providing additional value to customers. “It has to be in the interest of all market players that the new offers provide viewers with distinct quality and additional value. Only then pay-TV has a chance and digital television will be a permanent success.”

According to Pfeffer, pay-TV platform Premiere, on which the company distributes its health channel Focus Gesundheit, would be an interesting distribution partner for the new services. However, Premiere currently has capacity problems, he said.

Despite the new channels not launching this year, Focus TV hasn’t dropped drop its expansion plans, Pfeffer stressed. “We are still very much interested in the pay-TV business and are exploring further ways of realising our plans.”