Premiere could lose Discovery, Animal Planet

German pay-TV operator Premiere could lose documentary channels Discovery Channel and Animal Planet from the beginning of April.

A Premiere spokesman confirmed to news magazine Focus that he “couldn’t guarantee” both channels will remain on the platform. TV-guide magazines have already been advised to inform their readers of the possible retreat in their March editions.

According to information received by Focus, the uncertainty is due to contractual negotiations which determine how much Premiere pays for the services per subscription and year. The position of the contract partners is thought to be hardly compatible.

The threatened decrease in channels could be connected with the sobering financial statement which Premiere CEO Mark Williams is expected to present today (Monday Feb 16) in Munich. According to the report, in the fourth quarter of 2008 Premiere again suffered stagnating turnover and subscription figures. Additionally, average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) did not increase.

Analyst Sonia Rabussier from investment bank Sal. Oppenheim advises shareholders to sell their Premiere shares, as she believes the broadcaster will not break even until 2012.