Due in part to its strong production activities and growing digital business, German broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 saw a 3% increase in revenue and a 65% boost in profit in 2019, despite a weakening TV ad market.
The Munich-based company, which counts the transatlantic production group Red Arrow Studios among its many assets, on Thursday posted annual earnings of €412 million ($459.8 million) on sales of €4.1 billion ($4.57 billion).
Growth drivers at the company included its digital and smart advertising business, where revenue grew by 38%; Red Arrow Studios, which was up 18%; and its commerce unit NuCom Group, where revenue grew by 16%. The digital and smart advertising business includes the group’s Addressable TV business and the advertising-financed streaming platform Joyn, which launched last year.
“The transformation of ProSiebenSat.1 into a diversified digital group is making good progress,” said ProSiebenSat.1 Media CEO Max Conze. “Despite an industry in transition and a tough TV advertising market, we were able to increase our revenues by 3%. At the same time, more than half of last year’s revenues came from non-TV core advertising business.”
Conze said the company was continuing to advance strongly in digital and smart advertising with a 38% increase in revenues. “The double-digit growth rates at Red Arrow Studios and NuCom Group also prove that we are setting the right priorities.”
The chief exec added: “In the TV business, our focus on local content continues to increase its impact and our digital reach keeps growing, also thanks to the strong launch of the streaming platform Joyn.”
The group’s positive 2019 performance confirms the strategy to invest in future initiatives and it will continue to pursue this path, Conze added. “We want to grow sustainably and thus create additional value.”
Looking forward, ProSiebenSat.1 CFO Rainer Beaujean said the development of the group’s entertainment advertising revenue would play a decisive role in revenue growth and stabilizing the group’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), which declined by 14% to €872 million ($973 million) last year.
The company is also expecting positive effects from its newly announced deal with global equity group General Atlantic to acquire the U.S. online dating and social entertainment provider The Meet Group, which it valued at €500 million ($558 million). ProSiebenSat.1 will merge The Meet Group with Parship Group, an online dating company it owns via its NuCom division.
Beaujean added that the company’s overall outlook did not take into account “the possible effects that a further propagation of the coronavirus could have on advertising customers’ investment decisions.”