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ProSieben Sat.1 to stop licensing Hollywood content through output deals

The annual meeting of the supervisory board of German media company ProSieben Sat.1, as assembled in 2023. (Courtesy photo)
The annual meeting of the supervisory board of German media company ProSieben Sat.1, as assembled in 2023. (Courtesy photo)

German mass media company ProSieben Sat.1 says it will soon end its practice of acquiring content from major Hollywood studios through long-term output deals.

The move is part of a broader strategy that involves shifting the focus of its core free-to-air and pay television networks toward live and locally-produced content, executives affirmed this week.

Some of the studios that ProSieben Sat.1 acquires content from include 21st Century Television (Walt Disney Company) and Warner Bros Television (Warner Bros Discovery), with German-dubbed versions of programs airing on ProSieben, Sat.1, Kabel Eins and other channels.

ProSieben Sat.1 will continue to license some content from U.S. film studios and distributors, but will do so on a limited basis and will subject those deals to further scrutiny, executives said.

The decision to move away from output deals will impact ProSieben Sat.1’s portfolio of television channels as well as its streaming service, Joyn. The company is expected to take an impairment charge of up to €250 million (about U.S. $275 million) to resolve certain programming assets and up to €90 million (about U.S. $99 million) to setle various other contracts.

“In March, we presented a clear strategic plan: Entertainment as the core of ProSieben Sat.1, attractive local and live content to further strengthen our channels and Joyn, as well as an improved and more diversified monetization,” Bert Habets, the CEO of ProSieben Sat.1 Media Group, said in a statement. “Since then, we have set the right course — the success of our programs in recent months clearly shows that our local programming offensive is paying off. Our viewers are watching more local content on all our channels, and especially on Joyn.”

Habets said the company will take “the next strategic step and will invest significantly more in local content from 2024, offering our viewers a unique programming experience to serve very different media usage interests and, above all, to differentiate ourselves from the competitors of Joyn.”

In Germany, Joyn competes against other network-owned streaming services like RTL Plus and foreign services Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Paramount Plus and Disney Plus.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).