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Games, Online Biz Drive ProSiebenSat.1 Growth

Production in U.S. and beyond booming

BERLIN — Booming Internet business, VOD, online games and expanding international production, including new U.S. subsidiaries, drove record revenue and profit at German broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 last year.

On Thursday the group reported a 34.2% increase in underlying net profit to €415.1 million ($544.4 million) and a 7.7% surge in revenue to $3.9 billion from total business operations, including discontinued activities from Northern and Eastern European TV and radio assets that were sold in December. Consolidated net earnings climbed 12.4% to $386.8 million

The Digital & Adjacent unit was the group’s strongest growth driver as revenue increased nearly 40% to $460.5 million thanks in large part to online games and VOD.

The division comprises ProSiebenSat.1 Games, which has exclusive European rights to hit Sony Online Entertainment games “DC Universe Online” and “PlanetSide 2.” Registrations for all the unit’s games have almost doubled to 16 million in the past year.

It also emcompasses Maxdome, Germany’s largest VOD portal, and the Starwatch Entertainment music label, which reps Lenny Kravitz, Joe Cocker, Kim Wilde, Jamie Culllum and Celtic Woman among others.

Revenue from international production and distribution skyrocketed more than 150% to $125 million following the fast expansion of its Red Arrow Entertainment Group in the U.S. and U.K. Last year it made its largest acquisition so far with New York shingle Left/Right.

The unit currently holds majority stakes in 18 companies in nine countries, including U.S. subsids Fabrik Entertainment (“The Killing”) and Kinetic Content (“Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”) as well as London-based Endor Prods. (“The Escape Artist”).

Top-rated shows from Red Arrow companies air on ABC, NBC, Netflix and VH1 in the U.S. and the BBC and ITV in the U.K.

Red Arrow Intl. sold TV formats in 150 countries last year and also opened an office in Hong Kong as part of its global expansion.

In Germany, the group’s leading channels ProSieben and Sat.1 continue to have a near 30% market share boosted by hit U.S. fare including “NCIS,” “Homeland,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Fringe.”

ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Thomas Ebeling said the company was “in an excellent position for the future” adding that the it would continue to integrate its core TV business and digital operations “and develop ProSiebenSat.1 from a traditional television provider into a digital entertainment and e-commerce powerhouse.”

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