The chief executive of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 apologised on Wednesday for calling his core audience "obese" and "slightly poor".
Thomas Ebeling had been explaining to financial analysts on a conference call last week why he was not more worried about the threat from Netflix, whose content he described as often art house-like and unappealing to ProSieben`s viewers.
"They are human beings who are slightly obese, slightly poor, who still like to sit on the couch and lean back and really like to get entertained. This is a key audience which is not changing," Ebeling said.
"Don`t mix up us with American markets where people have to pay for crappy content. We give good content for free."
On Wednesday, Ebeling said in a statement: "My comment was obviously a pointed exaggeration to illustrate different means of enjoying media. I in no way meant to insult our viewers. The comment was taken out of context and was unfortunately wrongly understood, which I very much regret."
His remarks had caused a storm on Twitter.
"How out of touch can one be? You don`t bite the hand that feeds you," tweeted Web developer Ortwin Pinke.
"Has ProSieben chief Ebeling ever taken a look at himself? I will block this anti-social channel right away!" tweeted Martin from Cologne.
ProSieben`s slogan is "We love to entertain you." Its popular shows include "Germany`s Next Top Model" and American series such as crime drama "Gotham".
The broadcast group cut its German TV ad outlook for the fourth time in a year last week, sending its shares to the lowest in 4-1/2 years, as its ratings fell and it wrote off 170 million euros ($201 million) in U.S. programming.
German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung later reported ProSieben had begun looking for a successor to Ebeling to turn the broadcaster around. The company said it would start looking for a successor "in a timely manner".
On Wednesday at 1157 GMT, ProSieben shares were 0.3 percent higher and one of only two gainers in the DAX index.
($1 = 0.8449 euros)
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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