ProSiebenSat.1 channels remain free-to-air

By Robert Briel
October 29, 2009

Contrary to some news reports, the German private channels Pro Sieben, Sat.1 and Kabel 1 will remain free-to-air, according to Thomas Ebeling, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1. However, the broadcaster is looking at other income streams to make up for lost advertising revenues.

During the Medientage, a media congress in Munch, Ebeling said the broadcaster is looking at additional revenues including VOD and launching new pay channels. By 2014, the Group should receive 30% of its income from these alternative revenue streams.

The news that the Group would turn its current free-to-air channels to a pay product stems from a quote in the Handelsblatt newspaper, where Eberding is quoted as saying “The direction is clear for us: we must become more independent of the advertising market. For the future viability of the group, it is vitally important that we build relationships with our end customers, with pay-TV, VOD or other business models,”

Following a a large number of stories reporting that the Group’s channels would turn to pay, Ebeling quickly put some nuances in his remarks, saying that ProSiebenSat.1 is successful in other markets with pay models, citing Denmark as an example.

However, HD versions of the three main channels from ProSiebenSat.1 will be part of the encrypted HD+ platform in Astra.