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ARD unveils ad cuts on eve of Telemesse

'Sportschau,' major sporting events' pay scales to vary

BERLIN — As the annual Telemesse TV advertising confab kicks off today in Cologne, German pubcaster ARD announced that it will cut its advertising prices by 5.5% in the coming year.

Average 30-second spots on ARD will cost e14,377 ($16,483), although 30-second commercials during the pubcaster’s new “Sportschau,” which covers Bundesliga soccer matches, will cost between $32,675 and $68,452.

Ads on other sports programs like the European soccer championships, Olympic Games and the Tour de France will be calculated individually. Advertisers will 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 afternoon news show “Tagesschau” and popular quiz skein “Das Quiz.”

Digital presence

Some 27 broadcasters and seven advertising sales companies are expected at the seventh annual two-day Telemesse confab. In addition to 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 revenues to remain unchanged this year at $160 million, according to advertising chief Hans-Joachim Strauch.

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

ZDF, which receives 90% of its revs 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. Strauch predicted a 5% to 10% rise in 2004.

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