ProSiebenSat 1 takes lead in TV ad market

Hits like 'Sex and the City' bumped aud share

BERLIN — Haim Saban’s broadcasting group ProSiebenSat 1 surpassed rival RTL Television in Germany’s TV advertising market during the first quarter of the year.

ProSiebenSat 1, which operates four channels, fell behind RTL in gross advertising sales last year while the Bertelsmann-owned broadcaster scored high ratings with hit shows like a Teutonic German version of “Pop Idol.”

ProSiebenSat 1 also suffered as a result of a protracted auction that followed the 2002 bankruptcy of former parent Kirch Media that ended last year with the sale to Saban.

Thanks to popular fare like HBO’s “Sex and the City,” ProSiebenSat 1 increased its audience share and saw a 5.8% boost in gross ad sales to 43.6% in the quarter to March; RTL’s notched up 42.9%.

ProSiebenSat 1 includes main channels ProSieben and Sat 1 as well as Kabel 1 and news channel N24. RTL operates flagship web RTL Television, RTL 2, children’s channel Super RTL, VOX and news net n-tv.

Gross advertising revenues are determined on the basis of published prices and do not include rebates, barter deals or the broadcasters’ own advertising. Net revenues are usually 50%-60% of gross revenues in Germany. ProSiebenSat 1 said it had recorded higher net advertising sales in the first quarter than it did a year earlier. Local analysts estimate the company’s net revenue increase at 3%- 4%.

Although Nielsen Media Research reported last week that German companies increased their total gross spending on television advertising by 6.8% in the first quarter, it’s too early to say whether the market is recovering, according to industry analysts at German bank WestLB.

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

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