Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF is poised to shift all of its children’s programs out of weekday slots and into the weekend in a bid to combat intense competition from its commercial rivals.
ZDF’s head of children’s programs, Susanne Müller, stresses that the overall airtime for children’s programs won’t change. ‘But the current situation, where we have a small island of programming each afternoon, is not very good for the audience flow,’ she says.
Beginning in March, children’s programs will dominate morning and early afternoon viewing on Saturdays and Sundays. Most of the existing output, which includes a broad slate of domestic magazine productions, will be retained.
According to Müller, who is one of Europe’s most active kids co-producers, the move does not represent a downgrading of the importance of children’s programs. She says ZDF’s commitment to the genre is underlined by the growing popularity of its joint venture with ARD, Kinderkanal, which currently attracts 12.5 percent of the three- to 13-year-old German market.