Frankfurt, Germany -- German media group Pro Sieben Media
A.G. said it will launch an all-news channel by the end of next January, joining a host of
competitors in the market.
The plans for the news channel -- tentatively known as N24
-- come after recent comments by Pro Sieben chairman Georg Kofler that he was interested
in buying into n-tv, a six-year-old news channel that is currently turning a profit.
However, Kofler said starting its own news channel would be
much less expensive for Pro Sieben.
Germany already boasts a handful of all-news channels. The
market is lead by n-tv, which is 49.8 percent-owned by Time Warner Inc. and its Turner
Broadcasting System Inc. unit. That network is particularly strong in business news.
Late last year, Bloomberg Television launched a German
service, and CNBC is heavily targeting Germany with its English-language, pan-European
N24 will focus on business news. One advantage that it will
have is that it can share many resources and expenses -- such as an existing technical
infrastructure -- with other Pro Sieben units. The channel would cost about 50 million
deutsche marks ($US28.8 million) per year to operate, and it should be profitable after
four years, Pro Sieben said.
Initially, N24 will reach 30 percent of German TV homes
through satellite distribution, slowly expanding through cable distribution to about 70
percent of German TV homes in the four years after it launches.
Pro Sieben is actively pursuing operating synergies in the
news realm. Early last month, it bought German news agency ADN, which soon will expand its
coverage of business news. Both N24 and ADN will strongly be interlocked with the
group's online and digital activities, Kofler said.
Board member Michael Woelfle, who is also in charge of the
company's ad-sales department, heads pro Sieben's digital activities.