ProSiebenSat1, IBM join forces

Duo plan pan-European digital platform

ProSiebenSat1 and IBM are joining forces to set up the first pan-European digital platform as part of a E200 million ($315 million) agreement that allows the IT giant to take over part of the broadcaster’s production unit, ProSiebenSat1 Produktion.

IBM and the U.K.’s Red Bee Media had sought to take over PSP, but ProSiebenSat1 ended the talks in February with no deal.

As part of the new arrangement, ProSiebenSat1 and IBM inked a 10-year, $315 million-plus outsourcing agreement that leaves IBM with PSP’s IT division. Beginning in 2009, 170 PSP employees will transfer to IBM, which will take over and upgrade all of PSP’s IT business applications and media systems.

The companies aim to build an all-digital infrastructure enabling the delivery of TV programming to multiple platforms across Europe — a move that would make ProSiebenSat1 faster and more flexible in the European media and entertainment market while simultaneously reducing costs, the broadcaster said.

The broadcaster is expecting savings of some $80 million over the next 10 years as a result of the new partnership with IBM and the increased efficiency of a digital platform.

“Innovative technology that enables us to utilize our content in all media and all countries is crucial for our strategy,” said ProSiebenSat1 topper Guillaume de Posch.

IBM will oversee technical support and delivery of applications, Internet technology and IT infrastructures for group channels Sat1, ProSieben, Kabel Eins and N24 and modernize core business applications, such as ad sales, scheduling and rights management.

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