Peter Schulz, Sky Deutschland

Exclusive Speaker Interview with Peter Schulz, Vice President On Demand Programming, Sky Deutschland

Ahead of the Digital TV Summit 2012 we speak to Peter Schulz about the future of content…

How important is content as a differentiator for Sky Deutschland in the German pay TV market? How important is premium football and how do you plan to develop your offering over the next couple of years?

Content is what we do. There are lots of complexities around the various delivery mechanisms and user platforms. But in the end, we are tested by how well we can provide a mix of programming that people want and are prepared to pay for. Football, along with other sports, is one of the 3 key components of our platform. I sometimes describe it as a three-legged stool, consisting of sports, movies and entertainment. We will continue to invest in not only new and innovative programs, but also enhancements through production, presentation and technology to add value to the core programming assets.

To what extent can Sky differentiate its offering from that of Deutsche Telekom and the cable operators through technology and the user experience?

We are completely committed to the idea of the highest possible quality, both content and technical and to make it available to our subscribers anywhere and any time. This commitment infects everything we do, from program rights acquisition, through production, presentation and technical delivery. I think this is what sets us apart from everyone else in the market.

Who do you see as your main competitors in the market – Deutsche Telekom, cable or new OTT entrants, or the free-to-air market?

We don´t focus much on competitors. We focus on our customer, which is a direct one-on-one relationship. If we remain committed to making our service a bit better every day and keep focused on improving the customer experience, we will do just fine, irrespective of what other players in the market might do.

How do you intend to develop the Sky offering over the next couple of years? What new features of the service do you think will have most potential to appeal to German viewers?

We have adopted a long term plan for the integration of our customer experience across multiple delivery systems and on multiple technical platforms. We have already led the market in the principles of anywhere and any time. Every day we work to enhance that experience for the customer, adding programming and services. It´s a never ending process.

Germany has traditionally been seen as a country that has been slower than others to adopt pay TV, with a limited willingness to pay for content? To what extent does this represent the truth?

I have never believed that Germany is fundamentally different from other Western TV markets. People have been paying a lot of money for their television here for a very long time. And although there are many Free-To-Air TV channels available, most of the viewing is to the top 6 channels. I think it is true everywhere that if you offer the right combination of quality products, people will pay. The German consumer is smart and savy, but he also is prepared to pay for quality. I believe the fact that over 40% of our new subscribers come to us through recommendation is evidence that people are recognising the quality and difference in what we are doing.