Cologne leads Germany’s TV production sales push

BERLIN — German TV production industry sales are going strong.

According to a study conducted by Cologne-based media consulting company HMR Intl., German production companies (not including post-production and technical services) will take in DM3.2 billion ($1.85 billion) in 1997.

The Munich-based Kirch Group leads the companies with $178 million in TV production revenues during the 1996-97 business year, followed by Bertelsmann subsidiary Ufa with $124 million, and Bavaria and Endemol with $92 million each.

Germany’s fastest-growing media center is Cologne, where production sales reached $527 million in 1996-97. During the same period, Munich production companies reported revenues of $506 million, Hamburg $327 million, and Berlin-Brandenburg $291 million.

HMR managing partner Lutz Hachmeister attributes the success of Cologne-area companies to orders from commercial web RTL and pubcaster WDR, as well as to subsidy coin from the North Rhine Westphalia Film Foundation. Endemol, Ufa/Grundy and Fremantle Deutschland were the three companies that most benefited from the production boom in the region.

Production industry sales in Germany have risen by 30% over the past three years, but Hachmeister warns that growth is slowing down. “This enormous increase was partly due to public subsidies,” Hachmeister said. “Now the production market clearly shows the first signs of stagnation.” Production companies, which currently depend to a large extent on networks, should become more “international and business-oriented,” the consultant believes.

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