The move continues a wide-ranging collaboration between the U.S. publisher of The Wall Street Journal Europe and the owner of Handelsblatt, Munich-based von Holzbrinck group. Dow Jones and von Holzbrinck own shares in each others' papers and cooperate on the editorial and ad sales fronts.
The revamp of the 53-year-old Handelsblatt includes beefed-up Internet and e-commerce coverage and an estimated $10 million print and TV campaign through BBDO Worldwide, Duesseldorf.
The move comes as another international publisher, Pearson Group, prepares to invade Europe's largest media market in January with the $100 million launch of a still unnamed German-language edition of The Financial Times. Pearson is partnering with Gruner & Jahr, the print subsidiary of the powerful Bertelsmann Group, Europe's largest media owner.
The joint venture has appointed Hamburg-based agency Berg, Klemm, Pfuhl to promote the business daily. No advertising budget is available.
Further intensifying the tug-of-war for German newspaper readers, the International Herald Tribune last week joined forces with local publisher Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to launch a daily English-language news supplement, also starting in January. The Paris-based Herald Tribune is a joint-venture between The New York Times and The Washington Post.
The new supplement, to be produced by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, will contain six to eight pages of news and commentary from the same day's paper, inserted into all 25,300 copies of the Herald Tribune distributed in Germany. The partners are finalizing plans for an advertising alliance for the newspapers.
Propelling the surge of foreign interest in Germany's media business is the country's high newspaper readership. According to newspaper circulation figures published by the Financial Times, up to 31 million copies are sold daily; nearly 80% of Germans aged 14 years and older read at least one daily.
Individual circulation figures are huge. For the second quarter of 1999, German daily Bild-Zeitung led the pack with circulation of 4,451,579, followed by Suddeutsche Zeitung (430,040); Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (411,969); Die Welt (234,384); and Handelsblatt (151,568).
The stable German newspaper market has traditionally led to stolid, almost reverential news coverage, especially of business and the economy. But the entry of more hard-hitting, internationally respected papers has shaken up the market, forcing many to jazz up their editorial coverage and brighten layouts with redesigns and more color photographs.
The popularity of the Internet in Germany is also raising the competitive stakes. In anticipation, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's English edition will also be published on the Internet, making it available electronically around the