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German pubcaster drops ad rates

ARD maintain higher prices for soccer matches

BERLIN — Pubcaster ARD will be lowering its advertising prices by 5.5% in the coming year, the group’s sales & services division said Monday.

News comes on the eve of this year’s Telemesse TV advertising confab, which kicks off Wednesday in Cologne.

Average 30-second spots on ARD will cost 14,377 euros ($16,483) per 30 seconds, although commercials during the pubcaster’s new “Sportschau,” which covers the recently acquired Bundesliga league soccer matches, will cost advertisers between $32,675 and $68,452 per 30-second spot.

Ads on other sports programs like the European soccer championships, the Olympic Games and the Tour de France will be calculated on an individual basis. Advertisers will also pay more for hit series like daily soap “Berlin, Berlin” and cop drama “Grossstadtrevier” but less during some highly watched shows, including afternoon soaps “Forbidden Love” and “Marienhof.” Prices will remain unchanged on a number of programs, noticeably ARD’s afternoon news show “Tagesschau” and popular quiz skein “Das Quiz.”

Meanwhile, 27 broadcasters and seven advertising sales companies are expected at the 7th annual Telemesse, which runs through Thursday. In addition to Germany’s main public and commercial players, a growing number of digital channels will be on hand, including Universal’s Studio Universal, 13th Street and recently launched Sci Fi Channel, Bloomberg TV, Discovery Channel and Fox Kids.

In related news, fellow pubcaster ZDF is expecting TV advertising revenue to remain unchanged this year at $160 million, according to Hans-Joachim Strauch, ZDF’s head of advertising.

The pubcaster last year posted $168 million from ad revenues on its books in addition to a further $23 million from sponsoring deals. Company also reported it had won back major advertisers like Honda and consumer goods giant Henkel.

ZDF, which receives 90% of its revenues from mandatory viewer fees, posted a 4% drop in ad sales in the first half of the year but expects to recoup the loss in the traditionally stronger second half of the year. Strauch predicts a 5 to 10% rise in 2004.

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