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German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Group is continuing to internationalise its online video business and is building up a strategic partnership with its European media partners TF1 Group (France) and Mediaset (Italy) in the field of multi-channel networks (MCN).
Both media corporations are investing in ProSiebenSat.1’s premium MCN – Studio71 – by way of a capital increase with shares of 5.5 per cent (Mediaset) and 6.1 per cent (TF1) at a company valuation of approximately €400 million. ProSiebenSat.1 retains about 70 per cent of the shares in Studio71.
As part of the transaction, the Munich-based media group has agreed to acquire a strategic minority interest in Finder Studios, a French premium MCN co-founded by TF1. The investment in Finder Studios is subject to approval by the German Federal Cartel Office and the Austrian Federal Competition Authority. Furthermore, ProSiebenSat.1 and Mediaset have agreed to found a joint venture, which will roll-out the Studio71 business model in the Italian market.
The new investors will support Studio71 in tapping into additional markets alongside Germany, USA, Canada, Great Britain and Austria, and in continuing its consistently strong growth trajectory over the recent years. As part of the partnership, the appropriate infrastructure will now be set up in France and Italy in order to promote Studio71’s business rapidly and sustainably in the new markets. All partners will thus benefit equally from the innovative business model of the premium network that ProSiebenSat.1 has established. In particular, this includes the marketing, monetisation, distribution and production of web video content.
“The partnership with TF1 Group and Mediaset gives us access to key European markets where the online video market is just now really picking up momentum and promising significant potential<2 commented Christof Wahl, Member of the Executive Board, Digital, & COO ProSiebenSat.1 Group. “With the united marketing power of our media companies, we have an attractive ecosystem with which we can generate additional income and continue Studio71’s digital success story.”
Studio71 was founded in 2013 by Sebastian Weil and Ronald Horstman, its Managing Directors, and has quickly established itself as a market leader with around 500 million video views a month in the German-speaking region. By acquiring a majority in the US network Collective Digital Studio, which now also trades under the name Studio71, the MCN reaches about 6 billion video views a month and joined the world’s top five players with a focus on premium channels. Studio71 is represented in five countries with a total of eight branch offices and around 200 employees. As a result of the transaction, Studio71 will add offices and teams in Paris and Milan soon.
“This deal is absolutely in line with the strategy being driven by TF1’s CEO Gilles Pélisson, and with the Group’s new ambitions in digital,” explained Olivier Abecassis, Vice President Innovation and Digital at the TF1 Group.” By taking a stake in Studio71, the TF1 Group is positioning itself in the global digital ecosystem alongside two of Europe’s leading media groups. And by becoming the operator of Studio71 France, we are bolstering our presence in multi-platform premium online video, and our status as a key partner for emerging web creatives.”
“We join a digital global partner like Studio71 – with a deep broadcaster DNA – in order to build a leading player in the Italian market for the editorial management and monetisation of digital talents, to maximise the distribution of Mediaset TV contents on internet and to boost synergies between TV and web,” added Pierpaolo Cervi, Chief Digital Officer of Mediaset Spa.
TF1 Group and Mediaset are members of the European Media Alliance, a media network of leading European broadcasters, initiated by ProSiebenSat.1 in 2014 to create common synergies and investment opportunities.