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CNN to tap opportunities in CEE

Global news broadcaster CNN International has hired advertising representatives in the Czech Republic and Poland in an effort to tap growing opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe, a channel executive said Wednesday.

“Of course you have more big international companies in Western Europe. But that is today,” Werner Schoepff, the senior executive overseeing the channel’s advertising sales in France, Germany, Switzerland and central Europe told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in a telephone interview. In the former Eastern Bloc the channel had previously only contracted a representative in Russia. Schoepff said that he expects the channel’s advertising revenues in Central and Eastern Europe to grow by more than 50% this year. “We don’t get this kind of growth everywhere in the world,” the executive said. He said that Hungary or Croatia are “interesting”, but would not disclose whether the channel has plans to seek representation there any time soon. “I don’t have a clear answer,” he said.

Entering the Czech Republic, a country of 10 million, was not a part of CNN International’s long-term expansion plan but the broadcaster decided to go ahead after finding the market promising, Schoepff said. The channel aims to attract advertising from regional companies that are not only eyeing their domestic markets but also wish to promote their brands before an audience of global decision-makers, he said. Seventeen percent of the channel’s advertising income originates in the tourism industry, while slightly less comes from the field of finance, the executive added. In addition to public administration clients promoting tourist destinations, the channel’s Czech representative Zuzana Filipova said that she plans to focus on companies such as Czech Airlines, the car maker Skoda Auto and the country’s brewers. “We don’t expect 20 advertisers by the end of 2008,” Schoepff said, summing up his expectations for CNN’s Prague business. “But if we have two or three I will be very happy.” (m&