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German net N-TV taps Jautz

Ex-CNN reporter was head of CNN Int'l in Germany, Spain

BERLIN — German cable news channel N-TV has named former CNN correspondent Kenneth Jautz its new managing director.

A longtime CNN reporter and producer, Jautz was most recently in charge of setting up CNN Intl.’s operations in Germany and Spain. He is taking over the N-TV post from Karl-Ulrich Kuhlo in February.

At the station’s annual press conference on Friday, Kuhlo praised the American as the perfect choice to replace him, saying Jautz’s experience as a journalist guarantees N-TV’s continued credibility as a serious news broadcaster. Before joining Turner Broadcasting, Jautz was a European correspondent for the Associated Press.

Kuhlo was quick to deny rumors that the changes were brought about by CNN and Time-Warner, N-TV’s majority shareholders. The media giant and its subsidiary control nearly 50% of the station, which focuses on financial news.

“I have fulfilled my personal goal of leading this station on its very successful journey, and now I just want to work less and relax,” said Kuhlo, who will remain on at the station. Kuhlo, who has been managing director since the broadcaster’s inception in 1992, is replacing Gerd Schmitz-Morkrammer as chair of N-TV’s supervisory board.

Jautz added that N-TV’s shareholders were seeking stability and continuity, and that he would keep the broadcaster on the same successful path as Kuhlo.

Kuhlo also denied reports that Time-Warner and CNN were planning to sell their shares to commercial broadcaster ProSieben. “If [ProSieben managing director] Georg Kofler wants a news channel of his own, he’s going to have to develop it himself,” Kuhlo said.

In an interview with N-TV, CNN boss Ted Turner also reiterated that he has no intention of selling the German news channel.

In addition to the personnel changes, N-TV’s top brass were happy to announce that the station has finally made a profit for the first time in six years.

N-TV generated $45 million in advertising revenue in 1998, an increase of 40% from 1997, and $14 million for programs and material produced for other broadcasters, including news programming for commercial net SAT 1. Last year’s earnings left N-TV $360,000 in the black.

Kuhlo also boasted that the station earned its best ratings ever in the final quarter of last year. N-TV enjoyed a daily reach of 4.07 million viewers, nearly 900,000 more than in 1997.

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