Media: FT seeks German readers

Analysis

WALDEMAR SCHAEFER, joint editor of the German business daily Handelsblatt, did not sound especially nervous yesterday at the news that he would soon be competing against a German-language edition of the FT, complete with an English (but German-speaking) editor. He laughed: "Is there space for them? I think they are going to find the competition is very strong."

If anybody yet knows when the new paper will be launched, or even what it will be called, they are not saying. Yesterday, the FT finally confirmed the open secret that the German FT was a definite runner. The new details are: it is to be printed on pink paper, and published in a joint venture with Gruner & Jahr, publisher of the established Capital economic and business monthly, and a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media group; and start-up costs are estimated at DM170m. Schaefer thinks it will cost twice that.

The FT and their German allies are entering a torrid market. New publications have been launching in a flurry to attract Germany's expanding new class of equity investors, who have proven a hungry audience for business news. This year's launches have included Springer's Euro am Sonntag, a weekly newspaper, and the German regional press has also been bolstering business news coverage.

But the German FT will be the biggest launch so far and a test of both Pearson and Gruner & Jahr's ability to succeed with a testing cross-cultural and media joint venture. The newspaper is expected to be launched alongside a website which will be integrated with FT.com, the Financial Times Internet channel. It will be edited by Andrew Gowers, former deputy editor of the FT. It is expected to include both a strong business report as well as information orientated to investors, although this alone will not distinguish it dramatically from Handelsblatt.

The English-language FT has been published in Germany for more than a decade. But it still sells only around 20,000 copies a day, compared to 150,000 for Handelsblatt, published in Dusseldorf.

By reputation, Germans have not been excessively interested in business news, provided the mark in their pocket stayed strong. Their personal investments have traditionally been in boring, reliable bonds. But as the yields of fixed income investments have fallen, Germans have surprised many with the enthusiasm of their conversion to the joys of investing in shares. This has all recently been stimulated by the launch of the single European capital market denominated in the euro. The rush to serve this new market has in turn stimulated public interest. Publishers have swarmed to the honey pot.

English only takes you so far in Germany. Most Germans can make no more sense of an English-language newspaper than can most Britons cope with a weighty copy of Stern (also published by Gruner & Jahr). While the English- language FT and the Wall Street Journal have been must-reads for bankers in Frankfurt and a handful of senior people, neither paper is relevant to most managers or investors. Half the FT's English-language circulation in Germany is said to be a bulk sale to Lufthansa.

The new launch will be a test for Handelsblatt, quintessential organ of German capitalism. They are unlikely to prove a pushover. Its circulation has grown steadily but not spectacularly. Is it complacent in its market or ripe for new competition? Or are there only 150,000 people a day ready to buy a financial paper in Germany?

Pearson's objective is to command a portfolio of euro zone newspapers and web sites, including editions of the FT in English and German, Les Echos in France, and Expansion in Spain. But their start-up in Germany is more testing than the acquisition of established titles in France and Spain, which were simply a matter of establishing the right price. The FT's adventure in Germany will be a test of the pink 'un's fitness to rule business news in Euroland as it has in Britain.

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk