FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Discovery Communications has resumed talks to sub-license broadcast rights for the Olympic Games to German state broadcasters ARD and ZDF, the U.S.-based company said on Tuesday, confirming a newspaper report.
“We cannot comment in detail on ongoing negotiations, but we can confirm that talks have resumed,” a spokesman for Discovery said in an e-mailed statement.
Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung had reported late on Monday that the renewed negotiations were focused on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the moment, but said a cooperation on subsequent Games had become more likely.
In 2015, Discovery won the European broadcast rights for the Olympics from 2018 to 2024 for 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion), beating national public broadcasters such as the BBC and France Television.
It had been expected to pass on some lucrative rights. But last November ARD and ZDF said they would not show the Olympic Games for the first time, having failed to clinch a deal.
Discovery said in its statement on Tuesday that its goal was to bring the Olympic Games to a larger audience than ever before.
“In Germany, ARD and ZDF have a long tradition of broadcasting the Olympic Games, and both the audience and partners respect the knowledge and experience that they can bring to the table,” it said.
“That is why we invited them, also as broadcaster of the 2018 Paralympics, to join us in a broadcaster meeting in Pyeongchang.”
ARD/ZDF were not immediately available for comment.
Germany’s Manager Magazin said last year that initial talks between Discovery and ARD and ZDF had stalled over the price of a sub-licence.
The magazine said at the time that ARD and ZDF wanted to pay no more than 100 million euros for the broadcast rights in Germany, while Discovery was demanding at least 150 million.
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mark Potter and Jane Merriman