SPRINGER FALLS FROM TOP 10 IN MEDIA REVENUES

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Luxembourg-based TV and radio group CLT has broken into the top 10 ranking of European media companies, demoting German publisher Axel Springer to No. 11 from No. 10.

In the ranking compiled by CIT Publications, Exeter, England, and based on reported revenues, CLT moved up from No. 14 as its gambles on startup new TV channels around Europe with local partners paid off spectacularly well. The company reported a 19% jump in 1993 revenues.

"The driving force behind CLT's growth in 1993 has undoubtedly been its investment in the highly successful RTL [channel] in Germany and RTL4 in the Netherlands," said Ross Parsons, research editor of CIT, which publishes the Media Map Monitor guide to Europe's top 100 media companies.

This most recent ranking inaugurates a new quarterly frequency of the report, previously prepared only annually. Consequently, comparable figures from a year ago are not available. Previous ranking refers to a CIT report published in February 1993.

At Springer, 1993 revenues fell 1% due to a drop in ad revenue although after-tax profits rose by 25% to $44.6 million. In Springer's newspaper division, responsible for 68% of the company's total revenue, advertising income fell by 4% and circulation revenue by 1.2%. Springer's magazine division was hardest-hit, with a 15.8% drop in ad revenue.

"Springer's results reflect a good deal of resilience in the face of German television's ever-increasing share of advertising revenue," Mr. Parsons said.

"The fact that Springer's top 10 berth in the Media Map Monitor has been nabbed by CLT, which garners 80% of its revenues from television, is a sure sign of the tough fight that the print industry will continue to have in Germany and across Europe."

Another television-dominated media group, Silvio Berlusconi's three-network Fininvest in Italy, is faring less well. The TV and magazine company dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 because its heavy reliance on the Italian ad market left the company vulnerable when recession slammed the Italian ad industry.

Fininvest controls 60% of Italian TV advertising and about 30% all ad spending in Italy.

Germany, Europe's largest ad market, continues to dominate the top 10. Bertelsmann is the unchallenged leader, with media revenue of more than $8 billion, far ahead of the next contender, another German company, ARD.

State TV network ARD moved up one place to No. 2, despite declining ad revenues and viewership. The three state TV networks in the top ten-ARD, the U.K.'s BBC in sixth place and Italy's RAI in eighth-all benefit from substantial annual license fees charged to TV set owners.

Gruner & Jahr, a 75%-owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann, is big enough to make the top 10 ranking in its own right through its consumer magazine holdings. However, G&J revenues are also included in Bertelsmann's totals, but Bertelsmann would still top the list even if the G&J figures were excluded.

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