ProSiebenSat.1 wants money for free-to-air TV

Debt-laden German TV group ProSiebenSat.1 wants to free itself from being principally dependent on advertising income in future and thinks viewers should, in the long term, pay for the reception of its free-to-air channels Sat.1, ProSieben and kabel eins.

“The direction for us is clear: We must become more independent of the advertising market,” CEO Thomas Ebeling told German financial newspaper Handelsblatt, adding, however, that the change would take time and could only be achieved in small steps. “It is enormously important for the company’s sustainability that we develop direct connections with end customers, for instance through pay-TV, video-on-demand or other business models,” he said.

By 2014 the company wants to achieve around 30% of its income independently of advertising – twice as much as currently. The Danish market, where ProSiebenSat.1 has already successfully established this model, has demonstrated a prerequisite for the implementation of the strategy, said Ebeling: “What’s needed are attractive programmes on the individual channels, which viewers on no account want to miss.”

The model of charging for free-to-air channels will be introduced by ProSiebenSat.1 in January with distribution of the HDTV versions of Sat.1, ProSieben and kabel eins on the HDTV platform HD+ operated by SES Astra. Reception will cost €50 per year.