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ProSiebenSat.1 to turn ‘full focus’ on Discovery JV streaming launch after tough year

ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Max Conze admitted that 2018 was “not a year we can be satisfied with” as the company posted a full-year revenue decline of 2% to €4.009 billion and a dip in EBITDA of 4% to €1.013 billion.

Conze said that “weakness in TV advertising was not yet sufficiently counter-balanced with digital and commerce growth” to deliver a better performance”.

He said that the company’s “full focus is on the successful launch of our streaming platform together with Discovery this summer” as well as expanding its local content offering and building digital reach and developing addressable advertising products.

ProSiebenSat.1 will also continue to diversify through its NuCom commerce arm.

“Transformation is never easy but I am confident we have the strategy, passionate people and will to lead and win,” said Conze.

ProSieben’s top line was hit by the deconsolidation of video-on-demand portal Maxdome in July last year, and the group achieved a small increase of 1% excluding this and other consolidation effects.

The group said that growth in content production and global sales and commerce in the second half had compensated for weakness in the advertising market.

ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery will together invest €100 million in their planned joint streaming platform in 2019, which builds on the pair’s existing 7TV collaboration. The group expects this to have a negative impact on its net result this year of no more than €30 million.

Katja Hofem, currently COO at ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland, will join the 7TV management team at the end of next week with a special focus on developing and producing new formats as well as on program acquisitions.

This year, the broadcaster will also invest an additional €120 million in local content and continue to expand its digital platforms. The production drive will be implemented within the framework of closer cooperation with the group’s own production outfit Red Arrow Studios. In digital, ProSiebenSat.1 is working on introduction a ‘total reach metric’ for TV and digital together that can be marketed to advertisers.

Regarding its core advertising business, the broadcaster said that this month was expected to show a year-on-year decline, taking ad revenues down for the first quarter overall, not helped by the late arrival of the Easter holiday. ProSiebenSat.1 is continuing to target a revenue target increase for the full year in the mid-single-digit percentage range.