Advanced Television

ProSiebenSat.1 Q1 recovery; MFE readies bid?

April 16, 2024

German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has reported what it has described as “a very good start to the year”, and achieved profitable growth in many areas of the portfolio in Q1. This is the result of an analysis of preliminary figures.

The Group increased its revenues in the first quarter by 6 per cent to €867 million compared to Q1 2023 . The recovery in TV advertising revenues made a significant contribution to this. At the same time, revenue growth continued in digital & smart advertising revenues in the German-speaking region – mainly driven by the streaming platform Joyn. With an increase of 36 per cent in monthly video users and a rise in AVoD revenues of 50 per cent in the first quarter compared to the previous year quarter, Joyn marked a record quarter for the second time in a row. While the Dating & Video business remained below the previous year as expected, the Group recorded very dynamic and profitable growth in the Digital Platform & Commerce portfolio. In particular, the online comparison portal Verivox and the online beauty provider flaconi developed positively.

Despite the increase in programming expenses, adjusted EBITDA increased by 35 per cent to €72 million in the first quarter (previous year: €53 million). As previously announced, ProSiebenSat.1 Group is increasingly investing in exclusive local content to strengthen its market share in linear TV and the growth of Joyn. At the same time, consistent cost management continued, which had a positive impact on earnings performance. In addition to the recovery of the advertising market and the associated positive development of the high-margin advertising business in the first quarter, the Digital Platform & Commerce companies Verivox and flaconi in particular made a contribution to the increase in earnings.

Adjusted net income for the first quarter also improved year-on-year by €22 million to €8 million (previous €-15 million), mainly reflecting the development of adjusted EBITDA and lower tax expenses.

The Group’s net financial debt improved compared to the previous year to €1.55 billion (December 31, 2023: € 1,54 billion).

Martin Mildner, Group CFO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media, commented: “As expected, we have made a very good start to the year. This shows that the consistent implementation of our strategy is taking effect. We were able to close the first quarter of 2024 not only with revenue growth, but also with significant earnings growth due to consistent cost management. The advertising market recovered slightly at the beginning of the year and we increased both our TV and our digital & smart advertising revenues in the German-speaking region, also benefiting from an earlier Easter compared to the previous year. At the same time, our Commerce & Ventures portfolio around Verivox and flaconi continued its dynamic and profitable growth. Over the course of the year, we will continue to intensively drive our strategy forward and consistently pursue our cash and cost management.”

With this development, business performance in the first quarter is in line with the full-year targets for 2024, which the Group published in the Annual Report in March 2024. The full-year outlook takes into account the major sport events not broadcast by ProSiebenSat.1, such as the Summer Olympics and the European Football Championships in the second and third quarter, as well as seasonality resulting from the different comparative figures from the previous year.

After a weak first half of the year, the Group had gained significant momentum towards the end of 2023. Accordingly, ProSiebenSat.1 is still aiming to increase consolidated revenues for the full-year to around €3.95 billion with a variance of plus/minus €150 million (previous year: €3.85 billion). At the same time, ProSiebenSat.1 Group continues to expect an adjusted EBITDA of €575 million (previous year: €578 million) with a variance of plus/minus €50 million – and thus on the midpoint of previous year’s level. ProSiebenSat.1 also confirms the forecast for the other key financial performance indicators as published in the Annual Report on March 7th.

ProSiebenSat.1 Group will publish its figures for the first quarter of 2024 on May 14th.

Meanwhile, MFE-MediaForEurope, the TV group led by Italy’s Berlusconi family, is said to have held talks with various banks ready to fund a potential bid for ProSiebenSat.1 worth up to around €4 billion, according to documents seen by Reuters.

Dutch-based MFE is already the biggest investor in ProSieben with a near 30 per cent stake it started building in 2019 as part of plans to create a pan-European TV platform.

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