ProSiebenSat.1: 'Free TV will not only survive, it will stay very strong'

There are plenty of comments about the future of television in the global marketplace. All of them are very positive, and here Prensario shares ProSiebenSat.1’s Rüdiger Böss, EVP Group Content Acquisitions & Sales, opinion, who is an authorized voice to talk about what's going on in the competitive German market.

'Germany has a very resilient Free TV market, and we are convinced that this will keep going in the next couple of years. Free TV will not only survive, it will stay very strong – even though Amazon, Netflix and other OTT offerings have entered the market', he explains.

ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is one of the two largest media groups in Germany. 'We are not only competing against RTL anymore, we are having more and more digital competitors every year. But Free TV is still the most watched medium in Germany and reaches a significantly bigger audience than any online video provider', adds Böss.

'However, we are reacting to the changing viewer habits and want to make our program available for our viewers on every possible platform and screen – whether it is Free TV, Pay-VoD or our channel websites and apps. We have adapted our acquisitions strategies accordingly, as we need to add more and more online rights to our contracts with the studios. For instance, we have all rights for The Big Bang Theory, so we air it on every platform of ProSiebenSat.1 Group. We want to do this with as many programs as possible'.

Regarding trends, Böss says sitcoms are still working very well, along with prime-time feature films (a unique characteristic of the German TV market) and live events such as sports and entertainment shows like The Voice of Germany or Germany’s Next Topmodel. 'With regard to series, we are always looking for procedurals as they are the perfect fit for Free TV: procedurals are easy to program for us and easy to watch for the viewers', he stands.

According to the executive, there is more and more content available in the market, especially drama series. 'There were more than 300 series produced a couple of years ago, and last year the number reached almost 500. This has created a niche market – there is too much content that doesn’t reach a mass audience any more', summarizes Böss, who also remarks that there will be an increasing number or original local fiction/factual shows produced in house at ProSiebenSat.1.

'As buyers, our work has changed a lot as it gets more complex and more competitive when you have more people at the table negotiating. However, we are not often in a direct competition with OTT players – they are on the look-out for drama series, whereas procedurals are our core need'.

'From the distributors side, it is good to have multiple competitors as prices can get boosted. But in the end, we feel it is not only about money. Distributors don’t want to have a monopolistic market but appreciate variety. They also value the promotion power behind Free TV when we are launching a new program as this increases its value and profile considerably. The digital titans have surely changed our industry, but the strength and advantages of Free TV continue to convince audiences and advertisers', he concludes.