German publishing group Hubert Burda Media announced plans for further expansion in the coming year, despite the downturn in media ad revenues.

Burda, predicts deputy chairman Jürgen Todenhöfer, will buck the current trend of falling ad sales and see an increase in advertising revenue of 3%-5% during 2001. Explaining the group’s positive outlook, Todenhöfer pointed to Burda’s strength in entertainment and female-oriented titles – sectors which have largely weathered the collapse in dotcom adspend.

Burda invested a [group] record of DM495m in the 2000 business year, with DM310m set aside for investment in 2001. “We will invest further in the internet,” revealed Todenhöfer, adding that the current slump in tech stock prices this the right time for acquisitions.

The group’s Burda Beteiligung Holding division already owns stakes in seventeen web firms and is in discussion about acquiring more. It is also considering IPOs for internet subsidiaries, though it will want to avoid a repeat of its unsuccessful float last July of Focus Digital where shares have tumbled from E14.50 to E4.

In 2000, said Todenhöfer, Burda saw the “best results in the last ten years,” with external sales for its business year up 15% to DM2.57 billion. Circulation of flagship celebrity lifestyle title Bunte rose 5% to 795,000, while that of news magazine Focus overtook arch rival Spiegel.

News source: Handelsblatt (Germany)