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More ProSieben exex exit in Kirch’s wake

Woelfle, Halkin lead pack

BERLIN — ProSieben continues to lose key staffers in the wake of the Kirch Group’s majority takeover in October.

On Wednesday, Michael Woelfle, board member and head of the group’s sales house MGM Media Gruppe Muenchen, ankled his post amid rumours that MGM would be merged with Media1, its counterpart at Kirch-controlled web Sat.1.

Woelfle was followed by Tim Halkin, head of international fiction on Thursday, who will join Tandem Communications, an independent company run by his ProSieben predecessor, Rola Bauer, who left the web this summer. Halkin will not be replaced.

ProSieben head of international co-productions and acquisitions Karin Schockweiler is also said to be out the door.

Empty chair

ProSieben chair Georg Kofler announced this summer his departure in February.

The Kirch Group probably will rein in ProSieben’s own production initiatives in order to exploit Kirch-owned programming as much as possible. ProSieben’s own productions were built up significantly under the leadership of Kofler.

According to a press release last week, revenues for ProSieben’s fledgling multimedia arm grew by 61% in the first nine months of the year. But as usual, it’s the company’s core business of free TV that continues to pay the bills.

Pretax profits were up 7% to DM166 million ($88 million).

Revenues rose by nearly 10% to $783 million with free television accounting for the lion’s share — $736 million for the first three quarters.

“Our revenues in multimedia are our top priority at present,” Kofler said. “The market share of tomorrow forms the basis for the profits of the future.”

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