December 6, 2017 / 11:49 AM / 5 months ago

Outgoing ProSiebenSat.1 CEO plays down digital TV threats

MUNICH/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The outgoing chief executive of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE on Wednesday played down the threat to its TV business of digital rivals, describing its core advertising-driven operation as “robust”.

FILE PHOTO: Thomas Ebeling, CEO of Germany's biggest commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, poses before the company's annual news conference in Unterfoehring, north of Munich February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

Thomas Ebeling, who is stepping down in February after a string of outlook downgrades, told investors that in any given minute 11 million people in Germany were watching traditional TV - and just 700,000 were viewing videos online.

“Life would be easier without Youtube, Netflix and the rest, but there is a really robust core in the TV business,” Ebeling told a capital markets day at which the Munich-based broadcaster unveiled a new, simplified structure.

Ebeling reeled off a series of slides showing that advertisers - including fast-moving consumer goods companies and even online giants like Amazon - love TV advertising. One day’s exposure on commercial television had the same impact as a two-week online campaign, he said.

Most German-speaking viewers preferred to watch sitcoms like Big Bang Theory, the U.S. hit that airs on the ProSieben channel, on scheduled TV. ProSieben’s content has an overlap of 9 percent with that of Netflix, Ebeling said.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Joern Poltz; Editing by Ludwig Burger

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