German pay TV company Premiere will offer live web-based coverage of individual top-flight football from the Bundesliga and German second division on a pay-per-view basis, even to those who aren’t TV subscribers. The Munich-based company announced yesterday it has won the exclusive live online rights to show games in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as renewing its cable and satellite TV rights.
By offering its prized live football online a PPV basis, Premiere is breaking one of pay TVs biggest rules: grow the TV subscription base at all costs. That’s certainly been the mantra over the years from BSkyB (NYSE: BSY), which this month strengthened its grip on live English Premier League TV rights. Though Sky has started making live TV packages available through Sky Player without the usual satellite TV subscription, the live sports package requires a £25 monthly subscription. Sky does do online PPV, but only for delayed, “near-live” games through its Football First package. If Sky were to offer live online matches for sale individually, however, it would not only cut down online pirate broadcasts but would likely reap new income from fans of individual clubs who don’t necessarily want to see rivals each month.
With Sky and Setanta having again won live Premiership rights, negotiations between media and the Premier League are now underway for VOD and live online rights, and we understand talks could last until the end of the season in May, though no deadline has been set.
Footy fans will be hoping the eventual winner will give them what they really want: a comprehensive, affordable online VOD and live streaming service for Premier League and Football leagues matches. But — such a move would be unpopular with football clubs, which are trying to build their own revenue-generating video services, many with the help of video tech provider and sports rights distributor Perform.
For German’s Premiere, the expanded rights package is reflected in the higher price: Premiere will pay about