Newsmaker: Josef Andorfer

Managing director of RTL2

BERLIN — With sales last year reaching a record DM968 million ($459 million), RTL2 has become the envy of its rivals. For managing director Josef Andorfer, the web’s success is the result of a consistent strategy.

Andorfer, who got his break in the biz at Austrian pubcaster ORF, has headed RTL2 since 1997, when the station was a fledgling weblet.

Since then, he’s managed to position the netlet as a mainstream TV broadcaster with a full range of programming for its 14- to 29-year-old target viewers. With that group, RTL2 enjoys an average market share of 9%, up from 5.7% when Andorfer took over four years ago.

The unparalleled 31% boost in revenues last year was largely thanks to its hit “Big Brother.” And while lower ratings for the show have led to slashing of ad rates recently, Andorfer says he is “very optimistic” about achieving his goals. RTL2 expects revenues of $475 million in 2001.

He’s also confident of the web’s upcoming reality offerings, such as “Big Diet” and “Outcast.”

RTL2’s most popular fare also includes tyke toons like “Digimon” and “Pokemon,” and sitcoms like “King of Queens,” music shows, and series such as “Stargate” and “Andromeda.”

“Top movies and series will continue to play the same important role on RTL2 as they have in the recent past,” says Andorfer, who prefers U.S. series over German ones.

“The most important criteria,” he adds, “are high quality and attractiveness to young audiences.”

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