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Nick Germany rejigs primetime strategy

After building up recognition since re-entering the market two years ago, Nickelodeon Germany has launched a new primetime family slot that airs nightly between 8:15 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. According to MTVN Germany VP Oliver Schlabitzki, counter-programming is driving his strategy to tap the nation's growing co-viewing audience.
February 21, 2008

After building up recognition since re-entering the market two years ago, Nickelodeon Germany has launched a new primetime family slot that airs nightly between 8:15 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. According to MTVN Germany VP Oliver Schlabitzki, counter-programming is driving his strategy to tap the nation’s growing co-viewing audience.

‘There are many primetime channels in Germany, and since there is not much family programming, it mostly results in kids watching CSI or Pop Idol,’ says Schlabitzki.

The prime time slot rolled earlier this year. A deal with Amsterdam-based Off the Fence and its long-term business partner, Rolf Ernst, was already in place to fill three out of seven nights per week with branded two-hour slots, featuring the prodco’s wildlife series and specials.

On Mondays, Schlabitzki says an Off the Fence program called The Most Extreme will counter the crime shows (like CSI) that are already popular on other channels. The Most Extreme features fun facts and countdowns about different animals, such as listing the world’s biggest jumpers. On Wednesdays, which is a big football night, Nick will air Young and Wild, a series about baby animals that targets women and kids in need of a break from sports. And Saturday night will complement the major movies and primetime shows already in rotation with event documentaries, such as Shark Gordon, an eight-episode underwater non-fiction series about a man who communes with the creatures of the deep.

Schlabitzki says he’s still looking for new live-action programming to fill the Sunday night slot and offer an alternative to the big Hollywood movies that other channels tout. He’s open to commissioning a new series, as well as possibly taking on non-fiction shows such as a game show.

The remaining nights will be filled with classic shows that appeal to parental nostalgia, such as Lassie, and movies from the Nick vault. Schlabitzki is also keen to build up a library of movies that depict the lives of kids, tweens and families.

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