Screen International brings you the profiles of German broadcasters ProSiebenSat.1 Media, ZDF, RTL Television, and Ard Degeto.
Watching films on TV remains a popular pastime in Germany despite competition from home-grown TV series and the plethora of imported US crime dramas. ProSieben recently attracted 3.5 million viewers for The Simpsons Movie and 2.6 million for a re-run of Pretty Woman, while ZDF posted 4.7 million for 1998’s Six Days, Seven Nights. However, independent distributors find it increasingly difficult to sell non-blockbuster titles to television and the slots for European arthouse titles are never in prime time.
ProSiebenSat.1 Media, private free-to-air
Film buyer Rüdiger Böss, senior vice-president, group programming acquisitions
Annual film acquisition budget More than $450m (¤300m), the highest for a German broadcaster.
Output deals Three major output deals closed this year with CBS Paramount International Television, Sony Pictures International and the TeleMünchen Group.
Typical ProSieben film Hollywood action films and comedies.
Ratio of local films bought to international and US titles 80% Hollywood, 15% German, 5% European.
Markets and festivals Natpe, MipTV, LA Screenings, Cinema Expo, Toronto, Mipcom and Cannes.
Pre-buys and investments Recent local pre-buys include Jerry Cotton and The Crocodiles 2. Number of films shown Buys around 500 films a year.
On-demand services Germany’s largest online video store, maxdome, is a joint venture between ProSiebenSat.1 Group and leading ISP United Internet offering 20,000 films, TV series, comedies, sports, music and cartoons. Specific VoD deals have been signed with Sony, Paramount, Constantin Film and Kinowelt. maxdome also has access to the VoD rights from the Kirch Media library (titles include old New Line hits Rush Hour and Blade) and signed deals with Transit Film and Progress to offer German classics such as The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari and Metropolis.
Five most viewed films on ProSiebenJan-June 2009
(1) Pirates Of The Caribbean
(2) The Da Vinci Code
(3) Die Hard
(4) Perfume — The Story Of A Murderer
(5) Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
ZDF, public free-to-air
Film buyer Norbert Himmler, executive director, feature films
Output deals Recently signed a three-year output deal with NBC Universal.
Typical ZDF film US studio movies as well as European thrillers such as The Alzheimer’s Case and Contre-Enquete.
Ratio of local films bought to international and US titles Some 60%-70% are
US films. The percentage of German films is very small. Markets and festivals Berlin, Cannes, LA Screenings, AFM, BBC Showcase,
Mipcom and MipTV.
Prebuys and investments Recent pre-buys include In The Electric Mist and Transsiberian. ZDF is also a significant backer of German film-making
through its financial participation in regional funds in Hamburg, Bayern and North-Rhine Westphalia, through which it takes German TV rights to the
projects it produces directly. Number of films shown ZDF’s main channel buys around 100-120 films a year. New channel ZDFneo will be launched in November aimed at the 25-49 age group as part of ZDF’s existing bouquet of non-subscription digital channels. It will be looking for an additional 40-50 films a year.
On-demand services As a publicly funded channel, ZDF is not allowed to offer its own VoD channel. However, ZDF Enterprises licenses the VoD rights of ZDF
films to third parties.
Five most viewed films on ZDF, Jan-June 2009
(1) Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
(2) The Sentinel
(3) Six Days Seven Nights
(5) After The Sunset
RTL TELEVISION, private free-to-air
Film buyer Dirk Schweitzer, executive vice-president, programme acquisitions and sales
Output deals A package deal signed with NBC Universal International Television Distribution at the beginning of September includes films such as InglouriousBasterds and Brüno; a package deal with Warner Bros International Television Distribution in March includes forthcoming releases such as the final two Harry Potter films as well as library titles Ocean’s Eleven, Rush Hour 2, Blade II. Typical RTL film US studio and indie blockbusters.
Markets and festivals EFM, MipTV, Cannes, Toronto, Mipcom, AFM.
Pre-buys and investments Event TV movies from independent European production companies.
Number of films shown RTL buys around 60 films a year.
On demand services: A VoD service, RTL Now, is currently focused on selected international series and in-house productions.
Five most viewed films, Jan-June 2009
(1) The Devil Wears Prada
(2) The Transporter 2
(3) Night At The Museum
(5) X-Men: The Last Stand
ARD DEGETO, public free-to-air
Film buyers Hans-Wolfgang Jurgan, managing director; Roman Klink, head buyer
Annual film acquisition budget Approximately $122m (¤83m)
Typical ARD film A mix of US, German and European titles such as Taking Woodstock and Broken Embraces.
Markets and festivals Berlin, MipTV, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Mipcom, AFM.
Pre-buys and investments Pre-buys German TV rights to local projects including Venice title Desert Flower.
Number of films bought annually Around 200.
On-demand services None.
Five most viewed films on ARD Degeto, Jan-June 2009
(1) Shrek 2
(2) Hang ‘Em High
(3) Red Eye
(4) Demolition Man