German Media Giant Axel Springer Buys News Channel N24


German media giant Axel Springer has taken full control of all-news TV channel N24 and aims to make it the main supplier of video for all of Springer's outlets.

The deal, financial details of which were not announced, will see Springer merge N24 with its newspaper group Welt to create a digital news operation to supply all of Springer's magazine and online brands.

The deal still has to garner regulatory approval from Germany's media and competition watchdogs, but if successful it will create one of the country's largest producers of multimedia content. N24 is already a major supplier of TV news, running not only its stand-alone 24-hour news channel but producing the main news bulletins for national commercial networks Sat.1, Pro7 and Kabel Eins as well as Sat.1's daily breakfast news show through its subsidiary MAZ&More.

Jan Bayer, Welt Group president and head of printing at Springer, will run the new division together with N24 management board chairman Torsten Rossmann and Welt Group managing director Stephanie Caspar.

"N24 and the Welt Group complement each other perfectly and together represent the multimedia spectrum of journalism,” Bayer said in a statement. “N24 benefits through this partnership from the editorial quality and digital expertise of Welt Group. Axel Springer and Welt Group gain access to the moving image and live news competence of N24."

The merger comes shortly after the launch of the German-language version of The Huffington Post, which bowed in October. The German HuffPo is a collaboration with Springer's main competitor, Hubert Burda Media.

Jan-Eric Peters, 48, editor-in-chief of the Welt Group, will be responsible for all content at the Welt Group and the new joint digital service. Arne Teetz, editor-in-chief of N24, will be responsible for all moving image content.

N24 shareholder, the legendary German journalist and writer Stefan Aust, whose book was the basis the for Oscar-nominated film The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008), has been named publisher of Welt Group beginning on January 1, 2014. Current Welt Group publisher Thomas Schmid will stay on until June 30 of next year. He has said he plans to launch a new online magazine project in the spring of 2014.

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