European TV Giant ProSiebenSat.1 Posts Higher Third-Quarter Financials

 

European TV giant ProSiebenSat.1 Group on Thursday reported improved third-quarter financials as its content production, digital and international channels businesses posted higher revenue. That offset weaker revenue in German-language TV markets where the company had to compete with the Summer Olympics on public broadcasters.

The Germany-based company said its third-quarter earnings increased by 184 percent to $83 million (65.1 million euros). One-time items and lower interest helped the results. Recurring operating cash flow climbed 2.3 percent to $214 million (167.3 million euros).

Revenue rose 7.1 percent to $813 million (636.9 million euros), including a nearly 50 percent jump in the company's digital and other businesses.

ProSiebenSat.1 reiterated its financial guidance for the full year 2012. It projects revenue growth in the mid-single digit percentage range, higher underlying earnings and higher recurring operating cash flow.

"In the last few years, we have consistently invested in new growth markets. This is paying off today," said ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Thomas Ebeling. "We are developing ProSiebenSat.1 from a traditional TV provider to a digital entertainment powerhouse - and are thus setting the course for a long-term, successful development of the group."

German-speaking TV revenue declined 3.2 percent amid tough comparisons with a strong prior-year period and the Summer Olympics in London, which aired exclusively on public broadcast networks. ProSieben emphasized though that it saw a "positive start" into the fourth quarter.

The company said the combined viewership market share of its German channels Sat.1, ProSieben, kabel eins and sixx was 26.8 percent in the third quarter, down from 29.4 percent in the year-ago period.

ProSieben's international broadcasting unit saw higher TV advertising and distribution revenue driven by its networks in Scandinavia. Norway and Denmark in particular increased their TV advertising revenue.

The company's "digital & adjacent" businesses saw 49.7 percent revenue growth in the latest quarter.

And its content production and sales unit benefited as the company's Red Arrow has established itself as an international production firm. In the third quarter, revenue in the  segment more than doubled. The company produces such TV formats as Off Their Rockers for NBC, The Taste for ABC and Restless for the BBC.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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