The transaction is subject to approval by the Greek Competition Commission and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012. As Mr Contominas currently owns a minority stake of 30 per cent in Alpha Media Group, he will become again the sole owner of the company, while the current management will continue to be involved in the operating management of the channel.
Gerhard Zeiler, CEO of RTL Group, says: “Given the heavy and on-going economic and financial crisis in Greece, we have eventually decided to exit the Greek market. While we cannot influence the overall market development, our local management team led by CEO Christoph Mainusch, together with Alpha’s employees, succeeded in increasing the channel’s ratings and cutting programme costs at the same time – both to a substantial extent. We are happy to have found a solution that enables Alpha to continue broadcasting. We wish Alpha, its employees and our business partner Dimitris Contominas truly all the best for the future – and thank them for their outstanding contributions and their commitment in very difficult times.”
Dimitris Contominas says: “Alpha has significantly improved its market position over the past three years. I regret that RTL Group will leave the Greek market, especially given the achieved development. I would like to thank my business partners at RTL Group for the trusting and fair collaboration and the expertise they contributed to reposition Alpha towards a younger audience. I am pleased to continue working with Alpha’s highly professional management team to steer the company through turbulent times.”
RTL Group acquired a majority stake in Alpha Media Group in December 2008 and currently owns 70 per cent. Since then the Greek net TV advertising market is estimated to have declined by more than 50 per cent. Despite major cost reductions (minus 45 per cent over the period 2008 to 2011) to compensate for declining advertising revenue, Alpha TV at the same time has achieved to significantly increase its audience share in its main target group of viewers aged 15 to 44, from 12.5 per cent in 2008 to 14.6 per cent in 2011.
Further achievements since 2008:
- Re-positioning Alpha as a family-oriented entertainment and informative channel
- Introducing new programme genres to the Greek TV market such as reality programmes and docu-soaps
- Establishing a new way of scheduling, mainly in daytime and access prime time
- Creating a new way of presenting the news and informative programmes in terms of content, style and slot – almost doubling the audience share of the news from 8 per cent in 2008 to 15.3 per cent in 2011
- Increasing the advertising market share to a solid number three position.