October 15, 2013 / 9:59 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-ProSiebenSat.1 raises 2015 sales goal, eyes digital growth

* ProSieben says now sees 2015 sales of about 2.85 bln euros

* Previously saw 2015 sales at about 2.65 bln euros

* Sees annual revenue rising by 1 bln euros in 2018 vs 2012

* Digital business to account for 30 pct of revenues by 2018 (Adds further details on digital business, acquisitions)

FRANKFURT, Oct 15 (Reuters) - German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 raised its 2015 sales goal and unveiled new medium-term financial targets, banking on further rapid growth in digital entertainment.

ProSieben is benefiting from encouraging customers of its television services to also use its digital businesses, which include online videos, games, music and fan communities on social network sites, and vice-versa.

It said on Tuesday it saw annual revenues from continuing operations reaching about 2.85 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in 2015, compared with initial plans for 2.65 billion.

With consumers increasingly using smartphones and tablet computers to watch videos and listen to music, broadcasters such as ProSieben and its rival RTL Group are expanding their online media offerings to win viewers.

ProSieben may, for instance, roll out new shows on its online platforms such as video-on-demand service Maxdome or MyVideo, its answer to Google’s YouTube, rather than on TV.

At the same time, it uses hard-to-sell advertising slots at its TV stations to promote its online services or the online shops of companies with which it cooperates, such as Zalando, Europe’s biggest online fashion retailer.

ProSieben expects the amount of time that consumers on average spend watching online videos every day to double to 40 minutes by 2018 from currently 20 minutes. It says that will come on top of regular TV watching rather than replacing it.

By 2018, ProSieben expects its annual revenue to rise by 1 billion euros from last year’s 2.36 billion, while recurring earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (recurring EBITDA) will grow by an average mid single-digit percentage every year.

ProSieben’s managers said the third quarter of this year, which ended on Sept. 30, was very satisfactory and that the fourth quarter had started as expected.

They also affirmed an outlook for 2013 recurring EBITDA to rise from last year’s 744.8 million euros.

ProSieben’s shares eased by 1.4 percent to 33.13 euros, with traders saying that investors had hoped for more concrete comments on business in the third quarter.

Its digital business will account for about 30 percent of group sales by 2018, compared with 15 percent last year, it said.

To secure future growth, the company also wants to expand its digital business via further bolt-on acquisitions after earlier this year investing in mydays.de, a website offering unusual gifts such as skydiving lessons, an outing in a race car or courses in forensic investigation.

“But don’t expect a huge cash-out for transformative M&A (deals),” Chief Executive Thomas Ebeling said. ($1 = 0.7361 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Additional reporting by Joern Poltz and Hakan Ersen; Editing by Christoph Steitz and Mark Potter)

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