For former TV host, new network begins at 50

Digital channel Bono aims at older audiences

BERLIN — A host whom pubcaster ARD threw off air because of his age is launching a digital channel devoted to issues for viewers over 50.

Max Schautzer, 66, who wrote a bestseller about his firing called “Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Head, Waltzes in the Legs,” has campaigned for two years against the “youth madness” that he says afflicts TV.

The Austrian native, whose Sunday program “Immer wieder Sonntags” (Always on Sundays) was axed in 2004, has created Bono TV, which will be available on satellite and cable next year.

“Until now there was no broadcaster for those 50 and above,” Schautzer said in an interview with German business daily Handelsblatt.

Schautzer, a vital-looking senior with a slightly receding hairline and a contagious smile, has been working on the project for 18 months.

He holds a 40% stake in Bono TV and his partner Sven Eggert, a 48-year-old Dusseldorf advertising executive, has a 20% stake. Other partners include former ZDF executive Josef Goehlen and media researcher Jens Ochel.

“We will be profitable within three or four years,” predicts Schautzer, who says the aim is to have a 1% share of the 50-plus aud in the first year and 3.5% within five years.

He points out that seniors in Germany are not only growing in numbers but also have above-average income.

The partners have not yet decided where to base their channel, but Dusseldorf, Cologne, Munich and Berlin are under consideration.

They expect costs of e50 million ($65.5 million) a year at first.