ProSieben trimming down to bulk up

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German-based TV group ProSiebenSat.1 outlined its strategy as a newly minted pan-European powerhouse last week, less than a month after its $4.4 billion deal to buy SBS Broadcasting (HR 7/18).

Put simply, CEO Guillaume de Posch plans to cut costs at home in order to focus on expansion in Eastern Europe and in new-media businesses.

"We have reached the natural limits of our expansion potential in Germany," de Posch said, citing ProSiebenSat.1's 29.4% market share of the 14-49 demo.

De Posch confirmed that long-suffering Berlin-based channel Sat.1 will bear the brunt of the cuts in Germany.

On recommendations from consulting group McKinsey & Co., ProSiebenSat.1 has drastically cut Sat.1's news operations and, in total, is expected to cut about 180 jobs.

The media group's new owners — private-equity companies KKR and Permira — are pushing for higher profit margins, and while de Posch said he is "sure there will be no major investments in Germany in the near future," he has set his sites on the rapidly expanding East.

Through SBS, Pro-Sieben already has footholds in two Eastern European territories: commercial channel TV2 in Hungary and Prima TV and Kiss TV in Romania.

De Posch is keeping mum about expansion plans, but Poland and Russia, which have seen rapid progress in digital and Internet platforms, could be on his to-do list.
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