M&A Activity, German TV Market Boosts Numbers at ProSiebenSat.1

ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Thomas Ebeling

German broadcaster inks long-term licensing deal with Disney and boosts year-end forecast.

German broadcasting powerhouse ProSiebenSat.1 posted double-digit revenue growth and stronger profits in the third quarter, helped by a series of acquisitions and a still-robust German television market.

Consolidated revenues at the Munich-based network soared 17.2 percent to $817 million (€747.1 million) while recurring operating profits (EBITDA) ticked up 9.1 percent to $194 million (€177.8 million).

ProSieben has just inked a major multi-year licensing deal with Disney, taking exclusive German-language TV rights, starting in 2016, to the entire film output of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm as well as all new series from ABC Studios. For the first time, the deal also includes exclusive SVOD rights to ABC series, a clear sign that ProSieben is looking to take on major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, which have made inroads into the European market. ProSieben has its own in-house SVOD service, Maxdome.

While traditional free-to-air TV is still the bulk of ProSieben's business, the company is shifting to an increasingly digital and international model. Over the first nine months of this year, digital and other non-traditional TV operations accounted for more than a third of overall revenue (32.4 percent). The company has also been an M&A machine, gobbling up digital startups and independent production companies in a bid to diversify.

ProSieben's production and sales division Red Arrow Entertainment, which controls production shingles such as Kinetic Content (The Taste, Married at First Sight) and Fabrik Entertainment (Amazon's Bosch) earlier this month launched a Ripple Entertainment, an L.A.-based firm that will act as a digital hub for the group's entire asset portfolio.

ProSieben is also going far beyond TV or entertainment, with recent acquisitions including the insurance and utility comparison site Verivox and online travel portal Etraveli.

Bolstered by its recent success, ProSieben has raised its full-year revenue targets, saying it now expects to earned around $4.6 billion (€4.2 billion) this year, and book operating profits of $1.2 billion (€1.1 billion), some $380 million more than originally forecast. 

“In the third quarter, we again increased revenues and earnings dynamically and have grown profitably in all segments. We are therefore heading for another very good year,” said ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Thomas Ebeling. “At the same time, we will continue on our successful growth course."