Sky Deutschland will invest in local content, says Sullivan

Pay TV operator Sky Deutschland will invest in local content when the operator begins to make money, according to CEO Brian Sullivan.

Speaking on a panel session at ANGA COM this morning, Sullivan said that pay TV delivered predictable revenue streams “once you get going”. The company, which recently turned EBITDA positive, will be cash-positive soon, he said, and would then make some real money that it could invest in content – something he said it is committed to doing. “We are not an infrastructure company like some of the others here,” he said.

Sullivan said Sky would “get involved in some productions here in Germany but not in large volumes – there will be significantly high-quality projects with partners. We have to do it with partners that understand the market as well as or better than us.”

Sullivan said it is important for operators and national broadcasters alike to create content from the local culture and in any particular country’s own language. “You need that local creation of content and that can be something that supports pay TV as well as free-to-air,” he said.

On the general situation facing pay TV service providers in Germany, Sullivan said his company had made progress but that its pay TV service is still in less than one in 10 homes in Germany.

“The market here is now growing, by over a million homes in the last three years across all pay TV operators but it still has a long way to go before it becomes a self-sustaining ecosystem,” he said.

Sullivan said that Sky had lost a lot of money in the first year in which he had been CEO and had to invest heavily to make progress. However, investment had to be given time. “We have been lucky enough to have been given time by [21st Century Fox],” he said.

Addressing the lack of major home-grown internet giants in the European market, Sullivan said that big internet firms like Google could develop but that there had to be more willingness to take intelligent risks and to invest in things that might fail. “More things will succeed than fail but you have to allow yourself to take some risks,” he said.