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ProSiebenSat.1 could launch JV channels with Scripps

ProSiebenSat.1 could launch one or more new thematic channels in partnership with Scripps Networks Interactive, building on the big programming deal it struck with the US channel provider earlier this year.

Thomas EbelingUnder the deal struck between the pair in February, Scripps is supplying 1,200 hours of programming to the German broadcaster’s channels.

Speaking to analysts after ProSiebenSat.1 announced its latest quarterly results at the end of last week, CEO Thomas Ebeling said that launching new channels in partnerships with Scripps was “one opportunity” that the German broadcaster was considering.

ProSiebenSat.1’s existing deal with Scripps covers factual, factual-entertainment and lifestyle programming from the US programmer, to air on branded blocks on the sixx, ProSieben Maxx and Kabel Eins Doku networks.

The blocks are badged with Scripps’ channel brands including HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network and Travel Channel, and the agreement covers the linear rights as well those for online.

Ebeling said that ProSiebenSat.1 could possibly evolve the partnership depending on how the blocks perform. He said that this could “possibly lead into a new channel”.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that the [branded blocks] are performing well, so we might conclude it would make sense to launch one new channel next year,” he said.

However, said Ebeling, it was still “premature” to talk about a specific plan to launch further thematic channels. He said ProSiebenSat.1 would provide an update about any plans to launch new channels at its capital market day.

Discovery announced at the start of last week that it had agreed to acquire Scripps for US$14.6 billion. In May, ProSiebenSat.1 also signed a deal with the factual giant to create a combined streaming service, to which both ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery would contribute channels.

Separately, Ebeling told analysts that he did not believe Netflix would be a major threat to ProSiebenSat.1’s share of the audience in Germany. He said that the appetite for US shows in Germany was limited and that in any case most viewing of popular shows such as The Big Bang Theory was linear rather than on-demand.

He said that one thing ProSiebenSat.1 was clearly missing, however, was local scripted shows that aired daily.