Scandal takes toll

Bavaria Film takes action against exec

COLOGNE — The managing director of Bavaria Film, Thilo Kleine, has been suspended, in connection with a product placement scandal.

Reinhard Graetz, chairman of Bavaria’s supervisory board, said Friday that Kleine will be “suspended with immediate effect and until further notice.”

Pubcasters BR, WDR, SWR, and MDR are partners in Munich-based Bavaria.

A week earlier, Bavaria gave the boot to three producers of soap “Marienhof,” and admonished Kleine, along with seven other employees.

Evidence of illegal product placement over recent weeks has caused a crisis at the public ARD network.

Bavaria’s series “Marienhof” alone over the past three years has generated $1.8 million in hidden revenues, according to an auditor’s report. Apparently other irregularities were most recently found in product placement related to the crime series “Tatort.”

Kleine has been managing director at Bavaria Film since 1994. He recently produced the three-part historical drama “Speer und Er.”

In a related development, sales departmentsfor Germany’s main TV broadcasters announced they would make their ad formats more transparent.

IP Deutschland and SevenOne Media, the respective agencies of RTL and ProSiebenSat 1, said the process would start Jan. 1.

With the market for new ad strategies growing in double digits, SevenOne Media head of marketing and research Andrea Malgara said it’s essential to make the process transparent by coordinating offers.

IP Deutschland represents RTL TV, Vox, and Super RTL; SevenOne Medie represents Pro SiebenSat 1, Kabel 1, N-24, and Neun Live. The new system will also be adopted by other broadcasters and their sales departments, namely ARD, ZDF, Premiere, DSF, RTL 2’s El Cartel and MTV’s Viacom Brand Solutions.

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