Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 has reported healthy rises in annual revenue and profit due to recovering ad markets and growth in TV production, with another UK indie joining its stable today.
The group reported revenue of €2.8bn (US$3.7m) for the 12 months to December 31, up 6% on the previous year. Net income rose 12.4% leading to a profit of €309.4m.
The company said the profit figure was even higher when it took into account the benefit of discontinued operations, notably the disposal last year of its Belgian and Dutch SBS channels. On this basis, profit rose 91.9% to €685.3m.
ProSieben used proceeds from the sale of these businesses to slash its net debt to €1.8bn, compared with €3.02bn in 2010.
The Munich-based company painted a picture of a broadly upbeat ad market across its remaining European operations.
“The TV advertising markets relevant for ProSiebenSat.1 proved robust in 2011 despite the European debt crisis,” it said in its annual statement.
The German TV ad market “showed positive development in 2011,” the firm said. “In Austria and Switzerland, too, TV advertising revenues were above the comparative figures.” In a busy day for the company, ProSieben also said it was launching two new pay-TV nets in Germany.
Outside of German-speaking markets, ProSieben’s Scandinavian TV stations were singled out for special praise: “Norway and Denmark in particular posted high growth rates in a very positive economic environment.”
Elsewhere, digital revenue was up 9.8% to €254.3m thanks to the “selling of video content on the internet.” SevenOne International, the distribution arm within ProSieben’s Red Arrow Entertainment Group, last year struck a lucrative deal with Netflix for Norwegian dramedy Lilyhammer .
Red Arrow saw a major upswing in revenue – a 149.6% year-on-year increase to €33.7m. The growth came from sales plus a number of strategic investments in production companies, including Fuse Entertainment in the US and Mob Film in the UK.
In the latter territory, ProSieben today announced it has now taken a majority stake in CPL Productions, which produces Sky1 panel show A League of their Own.
The deal represents Red Arrow’s first move into the UK non-scripted market as part of its ongoing expansion plans, which MD Jan Frouman laid out to C21 at the end of last year.
CPL will now have first-look access to Red Arrow’s slate of formats, while its new and library content will be picked up for distribution by SevenOne.
CPL’s management team, led by MD Danielle Lux and creative director Murray Boland, will stay in position while Red Arrow UK MDs James Baker and Joel Denton join the CPL board.
Baker told C21: “We’ve spent a good deal of time looking at opportunities to build really creative partnerships in the UK and CPL was a really outstanding example of a company that is incredibly creative. It is willing to engage and share ideas and content with the other partners in the group.”
Asked about future acquisitions, he added: “We’re always interested in really strong creative talent and talent we feel could be a good addition to the group.”
Last month, Red Arrow expanded into Norway when its entertainment formats business Snowman Productions opened an office in Oslo. It already had a presence in Sweden and Denmark.
In October, ProSieben outlined plans to grow revenues by €750m above 2010’s total and CEO Thomas Ebeling said he was now confident the group would achieve this goal.
Part of this strategy is to target the growing Asian television market through SevenOne, which today also announced it will open an office in Hong Kong.