Deutschland AG, branded as Sky, is a German media company which
operates a Direct Broadcast Satellite Pay TV platform in Germany,
Austria and Switzerland (through Teleclub) offering a collection of
basic and premium digital subscription television channels of different
categories via Satellite and Cable Television.
It was launched in
1991 as Premiere. On 4 July 2009, the service and its channels were
re-branded as "Sky", resembling Sky in the UK & Ireland and Sky
Italia in Italy.
News Corporation owns 54.5% of Sky Deutschland; the remaining shares are owned by diverse shareholders.
channel originally started off as a single analogue channel on the
Astra 1A satellite, showing films dubbed into German as well as in
original audio, live football matches from the German Bundesliga and
Austrian Bundesliga (and at one time the UEFA Cup), as well as
documentaries, TV series and in the mid-1990s, late-night erotic films.
After the coming of the digital age, the service has since consisted of
many channels with many new ones added over the years.
service owns 100 percent of its subsidiary Sky Deutschland Fernsehen
GmbH & Co. KG (formerly Premiere Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG).
Sky Deutschland topped 3m subscribers by the end of 2011, having reached the number 3,012,000.
German Sky has its origin in the analogue premium channel "Premiere".
It was owned by Kirch Group, Bertelsmann and Canal+ and started
broadcasting in 1991.
In 1996, Kirch Media launched a digital
satellite platform called DF1 which offered several different channels,
including premium movie and sports channels.
broadcasting three digital channels in 1997, one channel mirroring the
analogue channel and two showing the same content at different times.
and DF1 merged to form "Premiere World" on 1 October 1999. Many of the
channels offered on DF1 were carried over to Premiere World, others were
rebranded or closed.
In 2002, the service became known as simply
"Premiere". Many of the channels were rebranded and the package
structure was overhauled at the same time. At the same time, KirchGroup
filed for bankruptcy. In 2003, investment group Permira stepped in and
took control of Premiere.
Exclusivity was for a long time a major
selling point for Premiere, and most of its channels were only
available through the Premiere platform. This changed in September 2007,
when Premiere launched "Premiere Star", a new satellite package made up
of channels that weren't exclusive to Premiere. The new package Sky
Welt/Extra. The package included TNT Serie, TNT Film, Sat.1 emotions,
Kabel eins Classics, AXN, Kinowelt.TV, RTL Living RTL Crime, FOX, Syfy
Universal, Animax, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Cartoon Network,
ESPN America, Eurosport HD, Eurosport 2, National Geographic Channel,
Discovery Channel, MTV Germany, MTV Live HD and Nicktoons.
July 2009, Premiere was rebranded to become Sky Deutschland. In
conjunction with the relaunch, many channels would disappear from the
platform, many would switch packages, many were renamed and several new
channels were added. The rebrand resulted a return of News Corporation's
Sky brand in Germany since the encryption of the Sky Channel (now Sky1)
in 1993, apart from availability of Sky News.
An inside account
of the rise of Premiere, DF1, Premiere World and then Sky Deutschland to
become a major satellite TV provider in Europe is given in the book,
High Above, which tells the story of the foundation and development of
the leading European satellite operator, SES.