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. …