ProSieben preps FTA channels, Discovery eyes Scandi business

ProSiebenSat.1 will launch two new free-to-air channels next year. The Germany-based broadcaster could also be close to selling its Scandinavian business, according to reports.

ProSieben will launch female-skewed channel SAT.1 Gold on January 17. The channel will be aimed at older viewers with a high income, a group of people that ProSieben said were becoming increasingly relevant for advertisers.

The broadcaster will also launch ProSieben Maxx, which will target older men with a high income.

The announcements were made at ProSieben’s Capital Markets Day, when the broadcaster said it was aiming for additional revenues of at least €250 million from its German-speaking broadcast business by the end of 2015, compared with 2010. By the end of the first half of 2012, the company had achieved 22% of this goal.
ProSieben said it expects to see additional growth from increasing distribution revenues primarily driven by rising HD distribution. It anticipates revenues of over €50 million in Germany by the end of 2015.

Thomas Ebeling, CEO of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group, said: “We have completed the first stage on the way to our growth target for 2015 quicker than planned. We have a good growth strategy and we are consistently working on implementing it. Television is the heart of our company. At the same time, we are moving forward with the diversification of our Group by investing in new growth areas such as online games and the ventures business. We are using the advertising power and access to millions of people that our TV channels provide to expand products from related business areas into large and successful brands. ProSiebenSat.1 is displaying strong operational performance and has a great deal of growth potential in a highly attractive industry.”

Separately, reports have emerged that a number of potential buyers including Discovery Communications are eyeing ProSieben’s Scandinavian business.

Aside from Discovery, financial investors BC Partners, EQT and Providence are said to be interested in bidding for the channels, which could be worth up to €1.4 billion. ProSieben has invited tenders for the businesses it operates in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland that generated sales of almost €480 million in 2011.

According to sources close to ProSieben cited by Reuters, Discovery is renewing interest it showed in the channels when the company put the assets up for sale in 2011.

The source said that ProSieben would keep the assets if bids were too low, as was the case last year.