RTL: Zeiler’s staying put

Co. also announces pact with T-Mobile

COLOGNE — RTL Television has denied rumors that topper Gerhard Zeiler will step down, at least in the near future.

“We hope that he will stay with us as long as possible,” RTL TV news director Hans Mahr said.

Zeiler has been the web’s managing director for five years and also took on the role of CEO for Luxembourg-based parent RTL Group a year ago.

Recent speculation suggested that Zeiler could step back from RTL TV but remain as CEO, naming as successor Johannes Zuell, head of RTL’s all-news web N-TV.

Mahr suggested that Zeiler’s double position may not last forever, saying that things may change “if he becomes too busy.”

Mahr also announced that RTL TV has linked up with T-Mobile, Germany’s largest mobile phone network operator, as supplier of news content.

T-Mobile said that broadband technology would also allow video streams later this year. Company already has a similar pact with N-TV.

Mahr said the deal marked another stage of the campaign for enhanced news programming that the entertainment-focused broadcaster started 10 years ago.

“The news biz can’t afford to stand still, so this is the stage in which we make RTL’s news available anytime and anywhere,” Mahr said. He also announced that RTL is preparing a redesign of its TV news programs.

The intermedia linkup comes as a means of exploring ways of raising extra income as the advertising business continues its very slow recovery from recession.

According to T-Mobile executive Martin Knauer, revenues will be generated from the fees for connections, then split between network operator and content supplier. “The future of news won’t be happening in TV exclusively,” he said.

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