November 19, 2014 / 6:00 PM / 5 years ago

ProSiebenSat.1 says could sell a stake in Maxdome streaming service

BARCELONA, Nov 19 (Reuters) - German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 does not rule out a partnership for its fast-growing online video streaming service Maxdome, which competes with Amazon and Netflix in the nascent market, a senior executive at the firm said on Wednesday.

Last week the Handelsblatt newspaper said that cable group Liberty Global was in talks to buy a 50 percent stake in Germany’s biggest streaming service.

ProSiebenSat.1 board member Christian Wegner declined to comment specifically about Liberty but said partnerships could make sense.

“We are very comfortable with the Maxdome asset and we want to participate in future growth in the market,” Wenger said at Morgan Stanley’s annual European Technology, Media and Telecoms Conference in Barcelona on Wednesday.

“On partnerships, it is mostly opportunistic. Obviously we talk to everyone and are not dogmatic about it.”

The German video streaming market is expected to grow, albeit from a smaller base than other European countries, and it has become more competitive after U.S. streaming service Netflix launched there in September.

The video on demand market is expected to expand to about 480 million euros ($600 million) by 2018, up from 198 million euros last year, according to data from lobby group Bundesverband Audiovisuelle Medien.

That will amount to nearly a third of the total video market, which includes DVD and Blue-ray disc sales and is expected to be worth about 1.7 billion euros by 2018.

ProSieben also competes on the German market with Sky’s Snap, Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and Vivendi’s Watchever.

Wenger said that Maxdome had not seen any negative effect since Netflix’s launch and has in fact added customers.

But the company, which was founded five years ago, currently makes a loss in the order of single-digit millions of euros per year and Wenger said Maxdome’s break-even level would be at around 700,00-800,000 customers.

“We believe that we can have double-digit margin on Maxdome in the long run,” he said. “But for now it’s more important to get the market going.”

ProSieben has not disclosed any subscriber numbers for Maxdome. (1 US dollar = 0.7972 euros) (Reporting by Leila Abboud; Writing by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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