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April 6, 2010

Sky Deutschland announces new CEO

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by Rapid TV News

Website: Rapid TV News

Brian Sullivan has assumed the role of new CEO at Sky Deutschland on 1 April.

The American, who previously worked for UK-based pay-TV operator BSkyB, replaces Mark Williams who announced his resignation in December 2009.

“I look forward to taking the helm of the leading pay-TV company in Germany and Austria,” Sullivan said in Munich.

“My priority now is to continue to open up the potential for subscription television and HDTV in Germany and Austria, which is still far from being fulfilled.

In the coming months, interested individuals and customers will have a whole series of innovations to look forward to. We will expand Sky into a genuine world-class entertainment service.”

Sullivan’s main missions will be boosting the subscriber number which has been stagnating at 2.5 million and improving the broadcaster’s financial figures.

Sky Deutschland’s total turnover in 2009 dropped from €941.1m in 2008 to €902.1m while the loss climbed drastically from €269.4m to €676.5m.

Sky Deutschland has, to date, created more than anyone’s fair share of problems, not least with the bankruptcy of its pay-TV predecessor (Premiere) when part of the Kirch Group (and where BSkyB lost a fortune) and more recently the departure of its founding CEO Georg Kofler under something of a cloud with allegations of over-stated (“ghost”) subs numbers.

Sullivan is not alone in his challenge given that News Corp, which controls Sky Deutschland, is also bringing in Chase Carey, one of Rupert Murdoch’s most loyal lieutenants, to act as Sky D’s chairman. In other words Sky Deutschland and is very much in News Corp’s sights.

Sullivan is said to be changing the thrust of Sky D, shifting the emphasis away from so-called viewer choice towards high quality TV, including extra HDTV options.

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