ATV owner: We're sticking to ProSiebenSat.1 deal after other talks failed
Tele München Fernseh, the Munich-based media group, has stressed that it will adhere to an agreement to sell the Austrian free-to-air network ATV to ProSiebenSat.1, the commercial broadcasting group, despite purported interest from other parties.
ProSiebenSat.1 recently announced that it had reached a deal to acquire ATV, subject to approval by the relevant media and antitrust authorities, and there are plans to fuse it with another channel Puls 4.
However, there have been subsequent reports of interest from elsewhere, including a joint proposal from RTL, ProSiebenSat.1’s rival, and Mediaprint, the Austrian newspaper and magazine publisher.
Herbert G. Kloiber, the head of Tele München Fernseh, told Der Standard, the Austrian newspaper, that there had been “unsuccessful” talks with other parties, and stressed: “Only the ProSiebenSat.1 Puls 4 Group was willing to meet the operational and financial requirements for a sale.”
The RTL-Mediaprint interest was this week revealed by Christoph Dichand, editor at Mediaprint’s ‘Krone’ newspaper.
The combination of ATV and Puls 4 in the Austrian market would offer heightened competition to ORF, the erstwhile dominant public-service broadcaster.
The main ATV channel first went on air in 2003, to be followed by the secondary ATV2 channel in 2011. The video-on-demand platform ATVsmart was launched last year.
ATV previously held broadcast rights to the ÖFB Cup, Austrian soccer’s knockout clubs competition, but Puls 4 and ORF have the contract for the next two seasons. Puls 4 also shows the NFL’s Super Bowl and attracted a peak of 128,800 viewers for this month’s showpiece.
The commercial network showed six final Euro 2016 group-stage games after buying a package of sub-licensed rights from ORF, and previously held rights to Austria’s away qualifying matches.
The news of the proposed takeover and the consolidation in the Austrian market comes a month before the the broadcast rights to the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Europa League for 2018-19 to 2020-21 are tendered. ORF holds free-to-air rights to the elite Champions League, while Puls 4 is the incumbent free-to-air Europa League broadcaster in Austria.