Sky’s acquisition of all Bundesliga rights in line with business plan, says Sullivan

Sky Deutschland’s acquisition of comprehensive rights to German top-tier football, including IP as well as broadcast rights, is in line with its overall growth strategy, according to Brian Sullivan, CEO of the German pay TV operator. Sullivan said that no prices rises were planned for its football service in the near term.

Taking part in the opening panel session at ANGA Cable in Cologne, Sullivan said that Sky’s turnaround had been based on getting the basics right, including delivering differentiated content that consumers cared about. Football was a part of that, he said. He said that the most recent Bundesliga tender came at the end of a period when Sky had renegotiated almost all its content rights. Pay TV had been on a steady growth path in Germany over the last couple of years, thanks to growing customer satisfaction. The acquisition of the Bundesliga rights allowed Sky to continue on that path across all devices and platforms, said Sullivan.

Sullivan said it was unlikely that Sky would raise the prices on football significantly. He said that Sky had raised its prices by 36% three years ago because the Premiere model had been completely unsustainable, with new customers costing more than they produced in revenue. Sullivan said revenue had grown by 18% for each of the last two years, largely due to customers taking new services.

Sky now has Bundesliga rights for the next five years, and Sullivan said the amount paid was close to what Sky had earmarked in its business plan.

Speaking on the same panel, Christian Illek, marketing director at Deutsche Telekom said that Sky’s plan was ambitious and Deutsche Telekom had to live with the decision. He said Telekom was in discussion with Sky to get access to football, and that its own Liga Total! service would continue while Telekom had the rights, but that the brand would not continue beyond that point.