So much for call-in TV. German broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 is pulling the plug on its controversial 9Live due to sharply declining revenue.
ProSiebenSat.1 topper Thomas Ebeling announced Thursday that live gaming programming on the web would be discontinued at the end of May. The station will then air fictional content until further notice.
The net, once the epitome of ProSiebenSat.1’s non-advertising-based growth strategy, saw revenue plunge 34.3% to €9.2 million ($13.6 million) in the first quarter of 2011. In recent years the channel has faced increased criticism and accusations of unethical practices for its phone-in quizzes because callers pay premium call rates in the hopes of winning big bucks for answering questions or solving brainteasers.
ProSiebenSat.1 said it would discontinue all such productions on its other channels as well.
The conglom has yet to announce its future plans for the channel. It could allow its digital women’s channel Sixx, which it launched last year, to take over 9Live’s frequencies, or it may choose to let the web go and focus on the creation of a new pay TV outlet, something Ebeling said is in the works.In addition to free TV webs ProSieben, Sat.1, Kabel Eins and Sixx, ProSiebenSat.1 also operate feevee channels Sat.1 Comedy and Kabel Eins Classics. A pay TV outlet showcasing ProSieben movies and series would likely come next.
On Thursday, ProSiebenSat.1 reported a 76.5% boost in first-quarter net profit to $56.8 million as revenue climbed 3.7% to $1.01 billion.
Ebeling said the group increased its profits considerably in the first quarter due “to good growth in many business units.”
The pan-European broadcaster agreed last month to sell its media assets in Belgium and the Netherlands, including five channels, to a consortium headed by Finnish conglom Sanoma Corp. in a deal valued at some $1.82 million.