BERLIN — ProSiebenSat.1 continues to expand its online operations with the acquisition of news portal Webnews.de.
The news platform pools professional news from various online media with user-generated content.
ProSiebenSat.1 has taken a 67.6% stake in Webnews.de with the option to acquire all of the portal in the future. The remainder is held by Holtzbrinck Ventures.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has already signed off on the deal.
The pan-European broadcasting group said the acquisition strengthens its news operations and expands its editorial news service into the fast-growing social news segment.
“Sites like Digg.com in the U.S. have shown impressively how successful social news portals can be,” said Marcus Englert, who oversees new media and diversification at ProSiebenSat.1.
“We’re certain that with Webnews we can translate Digg.com’s success into German and European terms.”
ProSiebenSat.1 plans to expand Webnews.de internationally next year, Englert added.
The platform draws on countless partner sites, from major news portals like Spiegel Online to blogs to specialized news sites like Wirtschaftswoche.de. The site’s unique feature, however, is that it’s only the active community which decides which stories to link and which ones will be read by hundreds of thousands of people on the site’s home page.
Additionally, the “Eyewitness” zone provides users with the opportunity to write and present their own articles. Beginning next year, the portal will also allow the uploading of video reports.
Webnews was founded in Cologne by Stefan Vosskoetter and Thorsten Luettger in 2006 with the goal of establishing a news platform that enables users to interact in new ways with news on the Web.
In related news, the U.K.’s ITV1 has signed off on a second season of ProSieben’s hit show “Beat Your Host,” in which contestants challenge celebrities for a prize of at least £50,000 ($87,000).
Sold internationally by ProSiebenSat.1’s SevenOne Intl., “Beat Your Host” is produced in the U.K. by Diverse/Gallowgate.