RTL Klub CEO tops Most Influential Media Figures List in Hungary

By Laszlo Kriston
    Dirk Gerkens, CEO of M-RTL Klub Zrt. (www.rtlklub.hu), has been named as the most influential figure in the Hungarian media scene by "Marketing & Media." The Sanoma trade paper publishes an annual chart of the most powerful people in national media.

    The Top 50 chart, a revenue-conscious ranking, consists mostly of corporate leaders who run companies with the large annual revenues, in the sphere of €80 million-plus (over twenty billion forint). Jozsef Bayer, long-time President-CEO of the Hungarian Axel Springer empire (www.axelspringer.hu) came in second place, while his position with Sanoma Hungary (www.sanomabp.hu) earned CEO Gyorgy Szabo the third spot. RTL rival TV2 ended up on the eight place through its CEO, Zoltan Vardy (www.tv2.hu). Other companies represented in the top 10 are Vodafone, Magyar Telekom, and leading web portal, Origo.

    Despite popular belief (even within industry ranks) that anchormen, such as talk show host Sandor Friderikusz or Sandor Fabry, are just as important in monetary (and revenue) terms as top business managers, no household name TV host made it to the list. A 18-member jury of "Marketing & Media" staff and advisory committee compiled the chart.

    In 2007, total television advertising revenue from channels accessible nation-wide reached €243 million, with an additional €41 million earned by local channels. The Hungarian Association of Broadcasters (MEME) statement is based on the findings of Ernst & Young (www.ey.com) accounting firm.