An increasing demand on thermal protective coatings as well as high thermal conductive thin films has led to a huge variety of nitride based thin films for various thermal management applications. On one side of the scale are wurtzite aluminum nitride thin films, a representative of the III-V semiconductors, which have drawn great attention over the last decades due to its extremely high thermal (approx. 320 W/mK) and rather low electrical conductivity (band gap of about 6 eV). In addition, an excellent thermal stability recommends AlN as an attractive material for electronic packaging applications. On the other side of the scale are cubic titanium and chromium nitride-based thin films (approx. 4.8 W/mK). Their outstanding properties such as high hardness and thermal stability as well as low friction behavior make them ideal for the use as protective coatings in forming and tooling applications. Within this study, we investigated the in influence of the alloying content on the temperature dependent thermal conductivity in Ti-, Al-, and CrN based coatings. Therefore, a PVD reactive magnetron sputtering system was applied to deposit TiN, Ti1-xAlxN, AlN, Al1-xCrxN and CrN thin films. The morphology, the crystal structure, as well as the mechanical properties of the sputtered thin films were investigated applying XRD, SEM, TEM, and nanoindentation analysis. For determination of the thermal conductivity the 3-method was applied. This measurement technique requires high thermal conductive substrate materials, which were found in 100 oriented Si wafers (approx. 142.5 W/mK). To extend the measuring range, the differential operation mode of the 3-method had to be carried out. Simulations of the thermal conductivity measurements predict that the used setup is limited to a measureable thermal conductivity of approx. 50 W/mK, which is clearly exceeded by our AlN thin films. The measurements, especially for the high thermal conductive AlN, show great sensitivity to the heater widths, which were applied via lithography. Doping small amounts of 10 at.% chromium on the metal sublattice of the AlN thin films has no effect on the single phased wurtzite structure, which is also obtained for pure AlN. Although the similar crystal structure and morphology, the 3-measurement reveals a great drop in the thermal conductivity compared to pure AlN. These impurities or point defects have serious impact on the phonon mobility, which are the major carrier of the thermal conductivity in insulating materials. The effect of alloying Al in TiN is not that pronounced. The transition metal nitride (TiN, CrN) coatings exhibit higher thermal conductivity as their bulk counterparts, which is mainly based on the high point defect density due to the PVD process. The results show the possibility of designing coatings with perfectly defined thermal conductivity (e.g., by the alloying concepts as proven for our binary nitrides alloyed with Al) and reveal the importance of the crystal structure for the thermal conductivity. Furthermore, we clearly pointed out the importance of the purity of a material to show its unique properties.