Teutonic TV ad market drops

Decline hits country's small channels hardest

BERLIN — Germany’s TV advertising market slumped 262 million euros ($258 million) in the first half of 2002, according to market researcher Media Control.

The 15 main broadcasters generated ad revenues of $3.4 billion but the overall decline of more than 7% hit the country’s small channels the hardest.

24-hour news web N-TV, co-owned by AOL Time Warner and German publishing group Holtzbrinck, saw sales drop by 32% to $32.7 million, while RTL2 suffered a 24% plunge to $184 million.

Market leader RTL Television remained the biggest moneymaker with $976 million, down 9.6%. Kirch-owned webs ProSieben and Sat.1 followed with $705 million and $701 million, down 4.6% and 3.5% respectively. Kirch’s Kabel 1 dropepd 9% to $185 million.

National pubcasters ARD and ZDF, which are partially funded through advertising, also saw sharp declines. ARD’s earnings of $96 million were 9.5% lower than last year while ZDF was 20% short, taking in $85 million.

Media analysts have attributed the ad slump to Germany’s faltering economy and the lasting impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Despite N-TV’s poor performance, European broadcaster RTL Group is reportedly set to pay Holtzbrinck between $168 and $178 million for its 47% stake.

Deal, part of an asset swap between RTL parent Bertelsmann and Holtzbrinck, will be finalized by the end of the month.

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