The expectations were high when it was revealed that Haim Saban was to give the keynote speech at the opening of this year's Munich Media Days on Oct 22. Would he spill the beans on the future strategy for ProSiebenSat.1 Media'
As it was, he neatly manoeuvred himself out of revealing specific strategy details by claiming that his "ongoing tender offer for the German broadcasting group meant he was "bound by legal limitations on what we can and cannot discuss publicly".
However, he said that he was "very bullish " about his involvement in Germany and said that it had been miracle that the fundamentals of ProSiebenSat.1's business "have remained as strong as they are despite all of these upheavals."
"We believe that those fundamentals will get even stronger because we believe that the German economy will turn. We believe in Germany, the economic engine of Europe. We believe in the hard working German people."
"We believe in our future contributions, both financial and strategic. We believe in a bright future for ProSiebenSat.1. But...it will take some time, hard work and focused effort. For we look at this opportunity as a marathon and not a sprint."
However, he was "puzzled and unclear" about some of the conditions in the German media landscape which were creating "an uneven playing field and a clear and dangerous double standard."
He picked out for criticism the different regulatory bodies for public and private channels, the public stations' practice of product placement, and the fact that the public channels are allowed to carry advertising and sponsorship "to the tune of hundreds of millions a year on top of their billions in license fees."
Saban indicated that he hoped to address these and other issues "in constructive and open discussions" with the heads of ARD and ZDF "with an intent to amicably create an even playing field in Germany and eliminate the existing double standard. The beneficiaries of these changes will be the viewers, the programmers, the advertisers and shareholders."