The ProSiebenSat.1 Group further strengthened its core business of TV, expanded the digital business and successfully positioned its production company on the international stage. This is an overview of the most important events.
The Year 2014 At a Glance
Weighting of the ProSiebenSat.1 share in the MDAX increased.
On January 21, 2014, Lavena Holding 1 GmbH, controlled jointly by KKR and Permira, sold its remaining 36.3 million common shares in ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. Since then, ProSiebenSat.1 shares have almost entirely been held in free float: As of December 31, 2014, the percentage was 97.6 %. The other 2.4 % were held by the Group as treasury shares.
ProSiebenSat.1 optimizes financing structure.
In 2014, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG extended and diversified the maturity profile of its financial liabilities. In April, the Group successfully concluded the placement of seven-year notes in an amount of EUR 600 million. At the same time, the Company entered into new facilities comprising an unsecured term loan of EUR 1.4 billion and an also unsecured revolving credit facility (RCF) with an amount of EUR 600 million. Both have a tenor of five years.
Annual General Meeting elects new Supervisory Board.
At the Annual General Meeting on June 26, 2014, Dr. Werner Brandt, former CFO of SAP AG, was elected as a new member of the Supervisory Board and appointed Chairman. Eight other Supervisory Board members were appointed at the same time. In addition, the Annual General Meeting resolved a dividend of EUR 1.47 per share. This equates to a payout ratio of 82.5 % in terms of adjusted group profit for 2013.
Eastern European portfolio sold successfully.
The expansion of the German-speaking television and digital business offers the ProSiebenSat.1 Group the greatest synergy and growth opportunities in the long term. The Group has therefore moved away from all TV and radio stations outside the German-speaking region in recent years. As a final step, the ProSiebenSat.1 Group fully concluded the sale of its Hungarian and Romanian TV and radio activities in August 2014.
New Executive Board members appointed.
Dr. Gunnar Wiedenfels and Dr. Ralf Schremper will join the Executive Board of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG on April 1, 2015. Dr. Gunnar Wiedenfels (left) will become Chief Financial Officer, while Dr. Ralf Schremper (right) will take on the newly created Executive Board department “Investment & Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions.” CFO Axel Salzmann will leave the Company at his own request on March 31, 2015. Chief Human Resources Officer Heidi Stopper left the Group on September 30, 2014.
In 2014, the ProSiebenSat.1 stations again won numerous prizes. Joko Winterscheidt and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf were honored with Germany’s most important TV-award, the “Grimme prize”, for their ProSieben show “CIRCUS HALLIGALLI” in March 2014. The international “Rose d’Or” television prize in the “Entertainment” category followed in September. Moreover, the judges of “Got to Dance” and the SAT.1 docu-drama “Der Rücktritt” won the Bavarian TV Award.
ProSiebenSat.1 and Unitymedia KabelBW extend their partnership.
The ProSiebenSat.1 Group secured the long-term SD and HD broadcast of its free and pay TV stations on Unitymedia KabelBW’s network. The partnership strengthens ProSiebenSat.1’s dynamically growing distribution business: The Group receives a share in the technical service fees that end customers pay for programs in HD quality. ProSiebenSat.1 is thus tapping into additional revenue potential and strengthening its independence from the traditional TV advertising business.
Contracts with Studiocanal Deutschland and CBS Studios International extended.
ProSiebenSat.1 secured attractive broadcasting rights again in 2014. A new agreement with Studiocanal Deutschland gives the Group continued access to movies from the US studio Lionsgate. Furthermore, the Group signed a master agreement with CBS Studios International, acquiring rights to future series from the Hollywood studio. The free TV rights apply for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Digital & Adjacent
ProSiebenSat.1 strengthens games business.
By acquiring the online and mobile games publisher Aeria Games, the Group further expanded its games activities and tapped into new target groups. The company expanded its games community from 27 million to 77 million players, becoming one of the top 3 publishers in Europe. Since mid-2014, the Group has bundled its games activities under the umbrella of SevenGames in Berlin.
ProSiebenSat.1 invests in international startups.
The starting shot for the internationalization of the ProSiebenSat.1 Ventures business was fired in 2014. Last year, the Group invested in five international start-ups and helped them enter the market in Germany and Europe. The most important partnerships include Shopkick, Talenthouse and Jawbone — all from the USA. In 2015, ProSiebenSat.1 will forge ahead with the internationalization and look for more start-ups via its scouting offices in Europe, the USA, Asia and Israel.
ProSiebenSat.1 launches 7TV app.
Since June, viewers have been able to use the new 7TV app to watch a mobile live stream of the ProSiebenSat.1 stations’ entire free TV programming. In addition, the Group offers the most extensive TV media library in Germany. This allows free access to numerous TV formats from the station group. Since it launched, the app has already been downloaded over 2.5 million times.
ProSiebenSat.1 expands digital commerce business.
The ProSiebenSat.1 Group’s e-commerce business continued to grow in 2014. After the Group successfully established a portfolio with investments from the travel industry in the previous year, in 2014 ProSiebenSat.1 focused on the “Beauty & Accessories” and “Home & Living” sectors. In connection with this, SevenVentures, the ProSiebenSat.1 Group’s ventures arm, increased its investments in moebel.de and Flaconi.
Studio71 reaches 200 million video views.
Studio71, ProSiebenSat.1’s multi-channel network, achieved 200 million video views for the first time in October 2014. One year since it was founded, this makes Studio71 Germany’s leading multi-channel network. In December 2014, Studio71 logged 258 million video views. In future, the multi-channel network will focus even more sharply on in-house productions.
SevenOne Media is market leader for video advertising.
With a market share of 48.6 %, the ProSiebenSat.1 marketer SevenOne Media was once again number one on the advertising market for in-stream video ads in 2014 (IP Deutschland: 32.5 %). Overall, SevenOne Media generated gross revenues of EUR 182.4 million with the marketing of video online (previous year: EUR 148.5 million). This is an increase of 22.8 %. This means that SevenOne Media again grew stronger than the market.
Content Production & Global Sales
Red Arrow acquires majority stake in Half Yard Productions.
Red Arrow further strengthened its presence in the USA, the world’s most important TV market, by investing in the US production firm Half Yard Productions. Half Yard ranks among the USA’s leading providers of reality shows, factual entertainment and documentaries and is the largest US producer of successful wedding shows like “Say Yes to the Dress.”
“Married at First Sight” is a global ratings hit.
The Danish Red Arrow subsidiary Snowman Productions landed an international hit in 2014 with “Married at First Sight.” After the huge success of the first season, the US station FYI commissioned a second season in August. In Germany, “Hochzeit auf den ersten Blick” aired on SAT.1 in the fall with market shares of up to 13.5 %, which meant it was likewise a complete success. The format has already been sold to over 20 countries.
Red Arrow produces for Amazon and Sky.
The US-based Red Arrow subsidiary Fabrik Entertainment is producing ten episodes of the crime series “Bosch” for Amazon. Amazon will show the first episodes in early 2015. In May 2014, Fabrik also started shooting the series “100 Code,” Sky Deutschland’s first co-production. English-language fiction programs are particularly relevant for Red Arrow because of the high international demand.