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Disney Channel gets digital in Germany

MUNICH: Disney Channel Germany has set up shop near Munich, just around the corner from German media mogul Leo Kirch's DF1, the digital platform into which the new channel will be integrated this fall. Program director for the mouse house's new...
March 1, 1999

MUNICH: Disney Channel Germany has set up shop near Munich, just around the corner from German media mogul Leo Kirch’s DF1, the digital platform into which the new channel will be integrated this fall. Program director for the mouse house’s new offering, Michael Kreissel, says the channel will run a sked that’s completely independent from that of Super RTL. Although Disney maintains that it will continue to supply programming to Super RTL as a 50% shareholder, German observers expect that to end once the digital channel has launched.

Industry pundits anticipated an earlier launch for Disney Channel Germany, possibly by transferring the Super RTL channel (jointly owned by the Walt Disney Company and CLT/Ufa) directly into the digital medium. The delay is blamed on the slowness with which digital TV has been picked up in Germany. DF1 currently has 300,000 subscribers; the company planned to reach this tally in 1997. By the end of this year, the platform hopes to double its subscription base.

GM of the new 24-hour Disney Channel is Hans Seger, who formerly held a managing position with Walt Disney Television International in Cologne. In addition to programming for the primary eight to 12 demo, the channel will also air preschool shows in the morning. Animated programs make up more than 50% of the sked, and German viewers will have the chance to see Disney blockbusters and animated classics like The Lion King on TV for the first time.

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