May 9, 2019 / 5:44 AM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 2-ProSieben sets June launch for 'Joyn' streaming venture

    * Ad-funded version to come first, subscription later
    * ProSieben teams up with Discovery
    * Up against streaming giants, local competition

 (Adds detail on streaming platform)
    By Jörn Poltz
    MUNICH, May 9 (Reuters) - ProSiebenSat.1 Media           
will launch its new streaming venture in June as the German
broadcaster seeks to expand the digital side of its business to
compensate for a decline in TV advertising.
    The initial version of 'Joyn' - a mashup of the words 'joy'
and 'join' - will be ad-funded, with subscription options
expected in late autumn or early winter, CEO Max Conze said.
    Conze, who has spent two million euros of his own cash in
the last six months buying ProSieben shares, wants to build a
digital media and e-commerce powerhouse.             
    He made some headway in the first quarter, with revenues
rising by 4 percent, buoyed by Prosieben's production and
e-commerce divisions, even as core profits declined on the back
of weak advertising and rising investments in TV.
    ProSieben had guided for a decline in earnings before
interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), and
its reported 5 percent drop just beat expectations in a Reuters
poll of analysts.             
    Analysts at Liberium raised their investment rating on
ProSieben to 'hold' from 'sell', with the share price now in
line with their 14 euro target price. The shares gained 3.6
percent by 1203 GMT to 14.74 euros.
    
    WHO'S JOYNING?
    Joyn will offer a slate of 50 channels live - including
partner Discovery Inc's           Eurosport - as well as video
on demand, responding to the challenge of streaming giants like
Netflix          and Amazon Prime         .
    Within two years, Conze hopes to attract 10 million users.
    The Joyn package will include channels from Germany's public
broadcasters - and Conze said he hoped to gain access to more
live channels run by ARD.
    The video libraries of ARD and sister broadcaster ZDF will,
however, not be available. The development of smartphone and
tablet versions of the streaming app is continuing, Conze said.
    Local rivals have, meanwhile, stolen a march on ProSieben,
with RTL Group           ramping up its TV Now streaming service
in Germany, and Freenet            adding subscribers at
waipu.tv, which offers a similar bundle of live channels.
    Conze, the former CEO of UK appliance maker Dyson, is
focusing on 'smart reach' to help advertisers - including firms
in ProSieben's own e-commerce portfolio - to attract the
attention of viewers.
    Revenue at its NuCom division, which spans home improvement,
dating and price comparison sites, grew by 14 percent after
adjustment for portfolio and currency effects. The Red Arrow
Studios production arm was ahead by 31 percent thanks to hit
shows "The Weekly", "Vienna Blood" and "Bosch".
    That offset a 4 percent slide in advertising revenues that
hit ProSieben's Entertainment division, which still accounted
for nearly two thirds of revenues in the latest quarter.
    ProSieben reiterated its forecast that earnings would
decline in the second and third quarters but stood by its EBITDA
margin goal of 22-25 percent for 2019 as a whole, and for a
mid-single-digit percentage revenue increase.

 (Writing by Douglas Busvine
Editing by Michelle Martin and Elaine Hardcastle)
  
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