»We are strongly expanding Joyn.«

Interview with ProSiebenSat.1 Group CEO Bert Habets

May 2023. Following the publication of ProSiebenSat.1's results for the first quarter of 2023, Group CEO Bert Habets explains current topics in an interview, provides an overview of the Group's strategic priorities and takes a look at the coming months.

No js

Bert, let’s talk about the current developments and what’s ahead in the coming weeks and months. As expected, the market environment in the first quarter has been challenging. What is the outlook for the full year?

The development of the advertising market in Germany has been very challenging – in line with expectation after the very strong declines we saw in the last quarter of 2022. We are cautiously optimistic for a recovery in the second half of this year based on all the indexes and positive outlook for the second half of 2023. We are preparing our product and our channel grids in line with that. For Joyn, we saw a strong increase in marketable video views by 30% in the first quarter. And we are very proud to launch Joyn in Austria, which has been a huge success – even more given the fact that we've been able to conclude a cooperation between ProSiebenSat.1 and the ORF to jointly launch all their channels and library, “Mediatheken”, on the joint platform. This is a very great example on how we want to develop our services in Germany going forward as well.

What are your focus areas in such an environment?

The main milestone for us is to focus on the strategic execution as we announced. This effectively means that we will put Joyn in the center of what we do and develop that service very aggressively with a new launch in Germany in the second half of this year, with a lot of new products and programs as well as new talents that will be seen on the platform. Secondly, we're working very much on the organizational design and cultural transformation journey for us as a group. We're well advanced in preparing for that and also started initial talks with the Works Council on the execution part. Thirdly, we also announced a dividend cut. This will give us additional headroom to invest and develop our own digital services, but also to strengthen the program grids in the second half of this year. 

At the end of February 2023, ProSiebenSat.1 had informed about open questions at Jochen Schweizer mydays and to which extent these business activities fall under the ZAG, the German Payment Services Supervision Act.

As I indicated already a couple of weeks ago, we have found a solution with BaFin on the business going forward. This means that we are fully compliant with the business that we conduct. We are also in very constructive talks on how to deal with vouchers with a volume exceeding EUR 250 issued in the past. We appreciate the very open dialogue with BaFin to work with us on this together.

You indicated that the Munich Public Prosecutor's Office has initiated a monitoring process with regard to the ZAG topic at ProSiebenSat.1. Can you give us an update here?

As we have informed on the ZAG topic as part of an ad hoc announcement, it's logic that the public prosecutor also looks at this case. Let me be very clear: We are currently under a monitoring process. This means that we do not have a formal investigation by the Munich public prosecutor. These talks are very constructive, and I hope that we can clarify this situation very soon.

What do you want to achieve this year?

As a priority, we are preparing all our products and our services to become much more consumer centric. And we are preparing the organization for a new organizational design and to really live this in day-to-day practice. Secondly, we have created more headroom to invest in content, in tech capabilities and to develop our digital products for the future by a firm reduction of the dividend for this year. This is strongly linked to the fact that we are the most leveraged company in our industry and therefore have limited financial headroom to manoeuvre. Going forward, however, as of next year, we have also adjusted our dividend policy to paying out 25 to 50% of the adjusted net income going forward. And thirdly, we are preparing for the first milestones and evidence to become the number one entertainment player in the German speaking region.