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Kirch Group slashes workforce

German media giant the Kirch Group is to shed over 2000 jobs in the face of dissapointing subscriber figures and mounting debts.

Troubled German media giant, the Kirch Group, is to cut almost a third of its 2,400 television sector employees.

The group has debts of almost US$6 billion, much of which comes from its pay television station, Premiere World, which owns the rights to the next two football world cups.

The debts were accumulated to pay for a failed expansion programme: the subscription TV operation lost $800m last year alone, despite having exclusive rights to cover premiership football.

In fact Premiere World had attracted just 2.4 million subscribers out of about 34 million households with a television in 2001.

Earlier this year the running of Premiere World was taken over by Georg Kofler, who said that his rescue plan would enable the operation to break even with fewer subscribers.

Amongst other assets, the group also owns the rights to Formula One motor racing. Kirch has indicated that the group may be willing to sell those assets as creditors become increasingly impatient.

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