Germany’s N24 edges ahead of rival

News web reports double digit growth in ad revs

BERLIN — German news web N24 reported double digit growth in advertising revs in 2006 and wants to maintain its slim lead over rival n-tv by ramping up its coverage of financial markets, topper Torsten Rossmann said on Thursday.

N24, which is part of ProSiebenSat 1, has a 0.4% to 0.5% advantage over n-tv in the 14-49 target group, said Rossmann. The two rivals have long been on par with market shares of around 0.6%.

Advertising revs are up too. “We’ve had double digit growth in ad revenues again this year,” Rossmann said, adding it had only been “an average year” as far as news was concerned. Aside from the World Cup soccer tournament — “it was the event of the year in Germany” — there were fewer big news stories in 2006 than in 2005.

Last year, the tsunami devastated parts of Asia, the Pope died and a German-born successor was named, the terror attacks in London happened and the German federal elections were held — all of which boosted the public’s interest in news.

He said the aim in 2007 is to stay ahead of n-tv and that N24 would boost its stock market coverage to help do that. N-tv, which is owned by RTL Group, has extensive coverage of financial markets in Germany and around the world.

“We will revive the coverage of bourses in Germany and do it in a typical N24 fashion,” he said, referring to the lighter touch the web employs compared with its rivals.

In November, ProSiebenSat 1 said its nine-month operating profit (before interest and tax) rose 13% to $326 million. All four of the group’s main channels, Sat 1, ProSieben, Kabel Eins and N24, saw revenue increases in the third quarter.

In stark contrast to its affiliates, however, ProSieben saw a 28% drop in operating profit to $23.5 million. Sat 1 posted a 20% boost to $36.7 million; Kabel Eins 30% to $11 million and N24 178% to $3.2 million.