Premiere (pay television network)
Sky Deutschland AG, branded as Sky, is a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 media company which operates the first (and still the only) pay television platform in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, offering several channels of digital
Digital television
Digital television is the transmission of audio and video by digital signals, in contrast to the analog signals used by analog TV...

 content via satellite
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

 and cable
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...


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
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and Sky Italia
Sky Italia
Sky Italia S.r.l. is an Italian digital satellite television platform owned by News Corporation launched on 1 August 2003, when the former platforms TELE+ and Stream TV merged together...

 in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...


News Corporation
News Corporation
News Corporation or News Corp. is an American multinational media conglomerate. It is the world's second-largest media conglomerate as of 2011 in terms of revenue, and the world's third largest in entertainment as of 2009, although the BBC remains the world's largest broadcaster...

 holds a 49.9% stake of Sky Deutschland; the remaining shares are owned by diverse shareholders.

The channel originally started off as a single analogue channel on the Astra 1A
Astra 1A
Astra 1A was the first satellite launched and operated by SES . During its early days, it was often referred to as the Astra Satellite, as SES only operated one satellite originally....

 satellite, showing films dubbed
Dubbing (filmmaking)
Dubbing is the post-production process of recording and replacing voices on a motion picture or television soundtrack subsequent to the original shooting. The term most commonly refers to the substitution of the voices of the actors shown on the screen by those of different performers, who may be...

 into German as well as in original audio, live football matches from the German Bundesliga and Austrian Bundesliga
Austrian Bundesliga
The Austrian Football Bundesliga is the highest-ranking national league club competition in Austrian football. It is the competition which decides the Austrian national football champions, as well the country's entrants for the various European cups run by UEFA.The Austrian Bundesliga, which began...

 (and at one time the UEFA Cup
The UEFA Europa League is an annual association football cup competition organised by UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. It is the second most prestigious European club football contest after the UEFA Champions League...

), as well as documentaries
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

, TV series and in the mid-1990s, late-night erotic films. After the coming of the digital age
Digital Revolution
The Digital Revolution is the change from analog mechanical and electronic technology to digital technology that has taken place since c. 1980 and continues to the present day. Implicitly, the term also refers to the sweeping changes brought about by digital computing and communication technology...

, the service has since consisted of many channels with many new ones added over the years.

The service owns 100 percent of its subsidiary Sky Deutschland Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG (formerly Premiere Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG).


The German Sky has its origin in the analogue premium channel "Premiere". It was owned by Kirch Group
Kirch Group
KirchGruppe was a German media group founded by Leo Kirch. The group collapsed in 2002 largely due to the debts associated with the purchase of sports rights for its television channels and the launch of pay-TV services....

, Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann AG is a multinational media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gütersloh, Germany. The company operates in 63 countries and employs 102,983 workers , which makes it the most international media corporation in the world. In 2008 the company reported a €16.118 billion consolidated...

 and Canal+
Canal+ is a French premium pay television channel launched in 1984. It is 80% owned by the Canal+ Group, which in turn is owned by Vivendi SA. The channel broadcasts several kinds of programming, mostly encrypted...

 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.

Premiere started broadcasting three digital channels in 1997, one channel mirroring the analogue channel and two showing the same content at different times.

Premiere 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
Permira is a United Kingdom-based private equity firm with global reach. The firm advises funds with a total committed capital of approximately €20 billion....

 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 package included TNT, Sat.1 Comedy, Kabel eins Classics, AXN
AXN is a Pay television, cable and satellite television channel owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which was first launched on May 22, 1997. The network is now spread across several regions in the world, including Japan, Europe, other parts of Asia and Latin America...

, Kinowelt.TV, RTL Living, RTL Crime, Fox Channel
Fox Channel (Germany)
Fox Channel is a German television channel dedicated to television drama series.The channel started broadcasting on the Arena platform and the Unitymedia cable network on May 20, 2008....

, Syfy Universal, Animax
is a Japanese anime satellite television network, dedicated to broadcasting anime programming. A subsidiary of Japanese media conglomerate Sony, it is headquartered in in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, with its co-founders and shareholders including Sony Pictures Entertainment and the noted anime studios...

, Playhouse Disney
Playhouse Disney
Playhouse Disney was Disney Channel's television block for programs aimed at entertaining preschool aged children, often airing as its own channel outside the United States. It was introduced in 1997 after Disney Channel's move to basic cable from premium cable, with a target audience of children...

, Toon Disney
Toon Disney
Toon Disney was an American cable television channel owned by The Walt Disney Company. A spinoff of Disney Channel, it mostly aired children's animated series and some live action programming. Its format had similarities to those of Cartoon Network and Nicktoons...

, Boomerang
Boomerang Germany
Boomerang Germany is German television channel broadcasting to children in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It was launched on June 1, 2006. It is owned by Turner Broadcasting System Europe.-List of programs:* The Jetsons* Tom and Jerry...

, Cartoon Network, ESPN America, Eurosport HD
Eurosport HD
On 25 May 2008, a HD simulcast version of the main channel launched - the first event covered in HD being the 2008 French Open at Roland Garros.-Launch:...

, Eurosport 2
Eurosport 2
Eurosport 2 is a European sports television network. It is a sister channel to Eurosport and Eurosport News. Several different versions of the channel exist across Europe, where television rights for sport differ.-Launch:...

, National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel Germany
National Geographic Channel Germany is a German television channel dedicated to documentaries and factual programmes.The channel was launched on November 1, 2004 on Kabel Deutschland's digital platform, broadcasting 24 hours per day from the start...

, Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel Germany
Discovery Channel Germany is the German version of the Discovery Channel. It is operated by Discovery Networks Deutschland, which is located in Munich....

, MTV Germany, VH1 Classic Europe and Nicktoons
Nicktoons (Germany)
-History:NickToons was launched on December 2007 as Nick Premium. Unlike the US version of NickToons, it has TeenNick and Nick Jr. shows on the network....


On 4 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
News Corporation
News Corporation or News Corp. is an American multinational media conglomerate. It is the world's second-largest media conglomerate as of 2011 in terms of revenue, and the world's third largest in entertainment as of 2009, although the BBC remains the world's largest broadcaster...

's Sky brand in Germany since the encryption of the Sky Channel (now Sky1) in 1993, apart from availability of Sky News
Sky News
Sky News is a 24-hour British and international satellite television news broadcaster with an emphasis on UK and international news stories.The service places emphasis on rolling news, including the latest breaking news. Sky News also hosts localised versions of the channel in Australia and in New...


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
High Above (book)
High Above - The untold story of Astra, Europe’s leading satellite company is a book describing the development of the European satellite provider SES Astra, published in 2010 on the occasion of the company’s 25th anniversary by Broadgate Publications in Richmond, UK.It is a large “coffee table”...

, which tells the story of the foundation and development of the leading European satellite operator, Astra
SES Astra
Astra is the name for the geostationary communication satellites, both individually and as a group, which are owned and operated by SES S.A., a global satellite operator based in Betzdorf, in eastern Luxembourg. The name is sometimes also used to describe the channels broadcasting from these...



The channels that make up the Sky package broadcast from the Astra 19.2°E
Astra 19.2°E
Astra 19.2°E is the name for the group of communications satellites co-located at the 19.2°East orbital position in the Clarke Belt that are owned and operated by SES Astra, a subsidiary of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg....

 satellite position, using the Astra 1H, Astra 1L, and Astra 1M
Astra 1M
Astra 1M is a Luxembourgian geostationary communications satellite which is operated by SES Astra. It is positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 19.2 degrees East, from where it is used to provide direct-to-home broadcasting to Europe....

 satellites. Channels are uplinked by ASTRA Platform Services
ASTRA Platform Services
ASTRA Platform Services GmbH is a sister company of SES Astra, both are subsidiaries of SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg. From its headquarters in Unterföhring near Munich, Germany, APS operates a broadcasting centre, providing a wide range of services, including content management, playout,...


External links

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