Supply of German kids TV outstrips commercial demand

MUNICH: Finding enough television commercials to fill the ever-expanding inventory of children's programming is getting more difficult in Germany....
July 1, 1997

MUNICH: Finding enough television commercials to fill the ever-expanding inventory of children’s programming is getting more difficult in Germany.

‘The market gets harder every day,’ says Anja Seipp, spokesperson for the Munich-based TV sales agent Medien Gruppe München, which sells for channels Pro 7, Kable 1 and Nickelodeon.

‘There are too many commercial opportunities offered by the stations compared to the need of the advertisers,’ says Andreas Kühner, spokesperson for the sales agent IP Deutschland, which sells for RTL, RTL 2 and Super-RTL.

In the past five years, the quantity of daily aired children’s programming has increased considerably. Yet the time that kids age three to 13 spend in front of the TV hasn’t changed that much it rose from 93 minutes per day in 1992 to 109 minutes in the first quarter of 1997.

‘The market got very fragmented,’ says Norbert Endres, media director of the Frankfurt-based agency The Network Media Consult, which represents such brands as Mattel’s Barbie and Fisher-Price. In former times, it was easier to reach German children, as they eagerly tuned in to the cartoon programming offered by private broadcasters.

‘Nowadays, the advertisers have to buy twice or three times as many spots in order to get the same reach for a comparable price,’ says Endres. ‘Prices are no longer really fixed by the rate card.’

And with the addition of each new children’s program, the market share of the others is reduced. Industry watchers believe that the start of the new though commercial-free public Kinderkanal last January, which has yet to release its market-share figures, but is unofficially pegged at around six to seven percent, will take share away from all other stations.

Another problem for advertisers in Germany is that commercials are not allowed to interrupt the broadcast of a children’s program. Commercials can only air between shows.

In the struggle for advertising dollars, Nickelodeon is presenting itself as the channel with the most clearly defined viewer group. At a recent advertising summit in Munich, the channel presented its wide range of commercial possibilities along with cross-promotional, merchandising, sponsoring, on-air and off-air opportunities. Though Nickelodeon has voluntarily reduced its quota of commercials to seven minutes per hour (12 would be allowed), the station is far from being fully booked.

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