Vor a year there was applause for Max Conze. At that time, the youthful acting manager introduced himself to the shareholders in the general meeting of the media group Pro Sieben Sat 1. Blue jacket, open shirt, white sneakers, in addition a song of praise to the television and its spectators. He will, as soon as he takes over the chairmanship, "put the audience at the center," promised the Bielefeld-born, who made his career outside the media world and most recently worked for the British vacuum cleaner producer Dyson. To prepare for his new job, Conze, a media-savvy person, visited some people at home to get to know their usage behavior. He talked about "Sabine watching TV with her little child" and about "Stefan and Angelika getting up on our breakfast TV". Many shareholders liked that.
One year later, it was quiet in the Annual General Meeting. No one clapped as Conze renewed his promise to "put all my passion and energy into my new job." The 49-year-old CEO asked for patience this time. Too meager is the balance sheet, measured by the stock price, which has yielded under Conze again by 40 percent, and a reduced from 1.93 to 1.19 euros dividend. In addition, the board had to watch as the Italian television company Mediaset took advantage of the low stock market valuation of the German competitor two weeks ago to entry and was with almost 10 percent to the new major shareholder.
Now, observers and shareholders are speculating about the intentions of the Milan-based company, which is part of the media empire of bustling former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. "Do you already learn Italian?" Asked Daniela Bergdolt from the German Association for Securities Holdings. Conze gave herself covered. Italian was a "beautiful language," he said only, calling Mediaset's commitment "a positive signal and a vote of confidence in our strategy and leadership."
Shareholder complains of "imbalance of the company"
The Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Werner Brandt, also left unanswered the question of whether and when a Mediaset representative would join the body. And while the Milanese speak openly of a European television alliance, board member Conrad Albert said only that Mediaset is a well-known partner of two joint projects, with which one will continue the cooperation, regardless of its capital participation. The shareholders did not learn more.
So it was not surprising that some of the 960 shareholders present lost patience with the management. There was less criticism for the retreaded board than for senior supervisor Brandt. He had watched the goings on for too long, said private shareholder Johannes Witt, who is also a member of the supervisory board of Deutsche Börse. He criticized the high remuneration of the Executive Board and also showed little understanding that Brandt had rewarded Conze's inauguration with a sign-on bonus of 3 million euros. The planned re-election of supervisory board boss Brandt was not to be expected the shareholders in view of the "imbalance of the enterprise", Witt explained his counter-motion in the general meeting – which nevertheless did not follow the capital majority.
Short videos for Facebook
Conze now promised to offset the downward trend in the classic television business with an increasing digital reach. In two new projects, he sets great expectations: Firstly, there is the streaming platform "Joyn", which was built together with the American Discovery Group, which Conze presented to the shareholders on its smartphone in a beta version, but already from next Tuesday to be available to anyone. On the app then the offers of 54 partner stations are bundled, including those of the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. The goal is to reach tens of millions of users in two years, said Conze and had to admit on demand that the breakeven point is expected to reach in three to four years – and this only based on the adjusted earnings before taxes, interest and depreciation (Ebitda ).
On the other hand, Conze announced an agreement with the American online network Facebook. The Munich short videos will be produced for Facebook Watch to reach more young viewers. There was also no applause for it.
(TagToTranslate) Max Conze (t) Werner Brandt (t) Johannes Witt (t) ProSiebenSat.1 (t) Mediaset (t) ISIN_IT0001063210 (t) Facebook